A Culinary Day at Ston Easton Park
Butchery, Grills and Culinary thrills were in order at the latest meeting of The Chefs’ Forum.
Guests gathered in the impressive surroundings of Ston Easton Park on Monday November 5th, for an afternoon of fun and food-fuelled capers. Headline Sponsor Bath Audi showcased the new Q8 and the A8 in a stunning car display at the front of the mansion house – Very fitting indeed!
The event began with a canapé and fizz reception and the chance for the visiting chefs and suppliers to network. All the food created by Ston Easton’s Head Chef Ashley Lewis, with the help of students from Gloucestershire College.
Ashley and the students produced the following mouth-watering canapés:
- Kimchi, prawn, orange. Parmesan
- Onion tart, jam, onion granola
- Cured salmon, mango, dill
Ashley said: “The students were all fantastic. The passion and talent that they showed was brilliant, and with young people like this coming into the industry I am confident that the industry is not in the danger that people say that it is.”
Following the reception Chefs’ Forum Founder Catherine Farinha and Mark Hyde-Catton, School Lead for Hospitality and Catering at Gloucestershire College welcomed the chefs and students to the event.
Mark spoke of The Chefs’ Forum Academy at Gloucestershire College and how incredibly important it is for professional chefs to enrich the learning of students whilst in college.
Ella Cupitt-Storey (18) who was working with Ashley in the kitchen, recently secured work experience with National Chef of the Year Kuba Winkowski (The Feathered Nest) during half term, off the back of The Chefs’ Forum Academy session he delivered at the college.
While The Chefs’ Forum event was in full swing at Ston Easton, TV chef Leo Kattou of Michelin-starred Simpsons Restaurant in Birmingham was back at the college leading a masterclass in professional cookery. A different chef goes into Gloucestershire college each week and the students really enjoy the sessions. This all further-proves The Chefs’ Forum’s ongoing commitment to supporting catering colleges and the next generation of hospitality professionals.
Alex Byrne (21) of award-winning butchers Walter Rose & Son was first on the demo stage, giving his first ever live butchery demonstration. The chefs were full of praise for the young butcher, as it was no mean feat to French-trim a rack of pork ribs, locally sourced from the Norton’s farm in Bishops Cannings, in front of an audience of top chefs and students.
Alex then seasoned the pork and took it out front to be grilled to perfection on the Synergy Grill for the chefs to sample.
Ashley Lewis and Sous chef Paul Todd in pristine Bragard chef jackets demonstrated one of their signature dishes from the Ston Easton menu of French-trimmed rabbit, charred broccoli with chestnuts, Armagnac and chestnut sauce.
Ashley spoke of his love of French ingredients and cooking style and talked the chefs though his culinary journey since leaving college. Ashley has worked in multiple Michelin-starred kitchens, both in the UK and France and has his sights firmly set on acquiring similar accolades at Ston Easton as he welcomes some talented new team members to push the kitchen forward in time for the new year and corresponding food policy change in aiming for Michelin recognition.
While Ashley popped-out to the Synergy Grill to char grill the rabbit and broccoli, the room were introduced to Mike Logut of Foie Royale and listened intently to the story behind his ethically produced alternative to Foie Gras. Mike sampled his fantastic product to the chefs on toasted brioche and has secured numerous orders as a result!
Sam Guarino of Santa Maria gave a talk on their latest lime pepper and array of market-leading herbs and spices. Sam offered to visit the chefs and their brigades at their premises to compare the seasoning they are using with the Santa Maria range, which we know cannot be beaten!
Jess Park (18) really enjoyed working front of house at the event. Her hard work and professional manner were noticed by the F&B Manager Alexandru Dan, who offered her a trial shift at Ston Easton – A great result for Jess and Gloucestershire College!
“The Chefs’ Forum events are a really good for us as students. They give us the opportunity to meet people who can help us in the future, and the experience of working at a beautiful venue with fantastically high standards. I’m really looking forward to my trial and the offer of a room here – it will be an amazing experience!”
Guests were then given a tour of the impeccably-kept walled gardens by Ashley. He explained that he’s going to really put some work into the garden in the new year to add new produce.
The gardens currently produce a range of produce which is used by the hotel, root vegetables, alliums, as winter veg as some more unusual crops like giant marrows and even loofahs!
Next the guests were treated to some Ston Easton afternoon tea canapés. The sweet treats were accompanied by wines Crown Cellars with wine expert Vanessa Roberts selecting delicious wines to accompany the Walter Rose pork and sweet treats as follows:
- Fianca De Ouro with tempura pork belly with sweet and sour sauce
- Lafleur Sauternes, paired with Foie Gras mousse, brioche and plum
- Varej Moscato d’Asti paired with a Raspberry Marquis
Founder of The Chefs’ Forum Catherine Farinha said: “This has been a brilliant event and its chefs like Ashley make it all possible.
“It is so important to us to have the support of chefs of his calibre, and of course, all the wonderful sponsors who provide the ingredients and the equipment for the demonstrations.
“It is great to see so many faces time after time and it makes me believe that we must be doing something right.
“We want to be able to keep giving the young talent the opportunity to go into kitchens and work front of house so that we can secure the successful future of the hospitality industry.”
The day ended with a brilliant Walter Rose meat showcase on the Synergy Grill and demo chef Claire Mansfield talked the guests through the fabulous energy-saving grill that produces succulent, juicy food in half the time of its conventional counterparts.
Chefs’ Forum events offer the chance to produce and catering equipment brands to showcase their produce and chef tools to top chefs, as well as the next generation of hospitality professionals. Any colleges, chefs or suppliers wishing to get involved in future events should contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Photography by: www.jamesaphotography.co.uk