Are You Ready for National Hospitality Day?

The 18th September is National Hospitality Day and some of the UK’s best-known chefs have called on the nation to go out and support their favourite restaurants, bars and hotels.

The day is being organised by charities Hospitality Action, Springboard, The Drink’s Trust and The Licensed Trade Charity. Funds raised from venues will go towards these charities – who all support the hospitality industry and its workers. Venues are also being encouraged to support the day with special offers.

Catherine Farinha, Founder of The Chefs’ Forum said

“There has never been a more crucial time for all hospitality organisations to collaborate and work together for the good of the industry.  We are delighted to support our media peers in celebrating the hospitality industry, promotional campaigns and the people who work within.  Together we can really promote best practice and stamp out any outmoded and unwelcome negative treatment of our workers.  This starts at grass roots and out work with our Chefs’ Forum Academy Colleges is all about championing positive role models, as well as maximum support levels  and welfare practice.”

Last evening, The Chefs’ Forum attended the revival of the Institute of Hospitality South West Division to show its support and appreciation for the industry leaders who make hospitality such an exciting place to be.

The organiser of National Hospitality Day said:

“The pandemic has brought the hospitality industry to its knees. By supporting your favourite local place on National Hospitality Day you’ll be helping a struggling business back on its feet. You’ll also be supporting a coalition of the main industry charities who support those hardest hit by the events of the last 18 months.”

Chef and hospitality business owner Tom Kerridge said:

All our biggest moments go on in hospitality venues, from first dates to weddings, and baby showers to wakes, they’re where the moments that make life worth living take place.  

“That morning chat with your friendly barista, a cheeky pint after work with mates, Saturday morning soaks in a hotel pool, or Sunday roast with the family…we all took these experiences for granted.   

“National Hospitality Day is a chance for us all to say ‘welcome back, we’ve missed you, and thanks for everything you’ve been doing’ to our favourite venues.  

“Restaurants, pubs and hotels up and down the country will be pulling out the stops to give everybody a great day out.”   

Angela Hartnett, Chef Patron at Mayfair’s Murano said:

“Even now, weeks after re-opening, businesses are fighting a daily battle for survival, with supply and staffing issues causing huge problems.”

Collaboration is the answer at this difficult time when our industry is in recovery from what was cited as the most difficult period in the entire career of Harry Murray MBE as a hospitality leader when he spoke at the IoH South West event last evening.

Let’s club together, look after our workers, support each other, mutually promote campaigns and events for the greater good of the industry and help make hospitality great again.

Happy National Hospitality Day 2021!

The Chefs’ Forum Academy Welcomes Chef Works as Headline Sponsor

Leading hospitality workwear brand Chef Works have agreed to headline sponsor The Chefs’ Forum Academy and provide all guest chefs with a branded chefs jacket and all students taking part in the academy with a special Chefs’ Forum Academy Dressed by Chef Works branded apron.

The new partnership will enable all academy students to receive branded aprons that will make their membership in the academy that bit more special and strengthen the appeal to colleges looking to take advantage of enrolling.

Emma Cohen, General Manager & Head of Marketing at Chef Works UK told The Chefs’ Forum:

“Chef Works are so happy to be involved with this great Chefs’ Forum Academy initiative. Working alongside leading chefs across the UK to support and develop the next wave of culinary talent.”

Chefs’ Forum founder Catherine Farinha said of the new partnership:

“The Chefs’ Forum is delighted to welcome Chef Works as the headline sponsor for The Chefs’ Forum Academy, currently operational across four UK colleges and soon to be more. The sponsorship means that every guest chef teaching in the academy will receive a Chef Works chef jacket and all student will receive a branded apron. Chef Works have worked with The Chefs’ Forum for the last few years, so it’s great that they are now dressing catering students in The Chefs’ Forum Academies, the finest chefs in the UK and all over the world!”

For more information and to view the Chef Works collection, click here.

Chef of the Week: Merrick Webber, Head Chef at The Culbone Stables in Somerset

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
I have worked at my current restaurant, The Culbone Stables for three months.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
I always loved cooking as a youngster and my passion really kick started during my apprenticeship under Andrew Dixon of ‘Andrew’s on the Weir’ which was the top restaurant in the area where I grew up. He really showed me the importance of great ingredients and flavour.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
I really love the artistic flair and freedom to create.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.

  • The freshest herbs, picked straight from the garden.
  • Quality bones from the butcher to make the best stocks and sauces.
  • Amazing flavoured vinegars that boost any dish to the next level.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
I really love the older Thermomix, it’s fast, efficient and reliable.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
I’ve noticed pate en croute becoming a theme in top restaurants and the amazing aesthetics that chefs create for them.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
A common mistake is the wrong use and overuse of micro herbs, each one has a delicate flavour that can balance a dish, or definitely ruin one.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
My favourite time of year is the summer. There’s so many colours and fresh flavours. It’s such a great time to cook.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
My favourite dish has been ‘Seared loin of rabbit, tomato and chorizo, rabbit rillettes, lavosh cracker and port geleé’ it was packed full of flavour!

How do you come up with new dishes?
I love to think of what I would like to eat in a restaurant. I never cook anything I wouldn’t enjoy myself. I love using seasonal local produce and foraging myself and base dishes around that. Using classic flavour combinations and sometimes crazier influences that everyone seems to love!

Who was your greatest influence?
My greatest influence was going to work in Denmark and working under Paul Cunningham and his head chef Paul Proffitt. They are amazing people and incredible chefs and taught me so much about cooking and also a great work-life balance.

Tell us three chefs you admire
The three chefs I admire are Martin Burge, who I worked under at Whatley manor and is the most amazing chef. Nathan Outlaw, his fish skills and flavours are unmatched and he’s such a kind and lovely man. Michael O’Hare, I love how out there his food is, he has no fear, and it really shows in his flavours and playing. I can’t wait to go and eat at his restaurant.

What is your favourite cookbook?
‘Hashi’ by Reiko Hashimoto. It’s a fantastic and basic Japanese cookbook that I’ve taken a lot of influence from.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
The chef to watch will be Alan Stuart who is opening ‘Oncore by Claire Smyth’ he is a very driven and talented man and will smash it out of the park down in Australia

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
My restaurant, ‘The Culbone Stables’ as my first Head Chef position, we’ve had an incredible summer and the best reception. Only good things to come.

Chef of the Week: Jordan Sclare, Executive Head Chef at Chotto Matte, London

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
I have worked at Chotto Matte for 9 years.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
I got tasked to cook a family meal as part of a school project when I was 7. The pleasure of achieving such a positive reaction from my family sparked my desire from a young age to become a chef. I learnt the foundation of my cooking skills during my apprentice years at the Savoy Hotel and Restaurant Gordon Ramsay.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
My favourite part of being a chef is working with great ingredients and getting creative with new recipes and flavours.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Yellow chilli from Peru, fresh herbs from my garden and lots of love!

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
A Japanese chef knife.

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
Instagramable dishes, Chino Indian fusion and sushi burritos.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
I think chefs let themselves down when they do not take on constructive customer feedback. It’s an invaluable component of progression.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
Summer, I love preparing fresh raw light salads, al fresco dining and of course, a BBQ.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
It would have to be my BBQ Octopus anticucho.

How do you come up with new dishes?
I start by researching food trends, getting inspired by eating out, market research and listening to what guests want. I then, write down ideas and practice making and tasting the dishes. I make changes as many times as it takes to get it perfect. I sometimes taste and change a dish 20 times before it makes it onto the menu.

Who was your greatest influence?
Kurt Zdesar, developing food with him and understanding his philosophy on the importance of perfect, simple taste has been a big part of the restaurant’s success.

Tell us three chefs you admire

  • Gordon Ramsay – he has achieved so much in his career and working for him at a young age taught me a lot.
  • Virgillio Martinez – chef at restaurant Central. This was by far the best dining experience I had in Peru.
  • And of course, my wife!! One of the world’s most improved cooks!

What is your favourite cookbook?
Accounts of Cooking by Ryori Monogatari.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
Jahdre Hayward at restaurant Haywards is certainly one to watch.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
Fat Pundit in Soho.


The Crab & Hammer’s David Markham Becomes Crustastun Ambassador

The sentience bill is coming and restaurants that use a lot of lobster and crab can get ahead of the game by installing a Crustastun machine now in preparation. The machine uses technology that stuns shellfish in a humane way with no cruelty and even improves flavour.

David Markham explains:

“There is this issue going on around sentience and the population is behind it. And when anyone asks we explain that we use Crustastun and it is compassionate. We’ve done our part to make sure our restaurant dispatches crab in the most humane manner.

“We’ve very quickly started to adopt the Crustastun technology, from a humane perspective mainly. We use it in our larger crab business, Blue Sea Crab, and when we opened The Crab & Hammer it was a natural progression to use a smaller version in the kitchen.

“We’ve had comments from the likes of Raymond Blanc and The Waterside Inn how they can really notice the difference in the flavour of the crab.

“The first round of the sentience bill doesn’t actually cover crab but it’s in the post. It is coming. We saw that it made absolute sense to have it. We now cover the whole picture of boat to plate making sure that we look after every species we offer on our menu. “

The Crustastun is available from Mitchell & Cooper – For more information please click here.

Chef of the Week: Ross Pike, Chef Director at Oakman Inns

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
Six years as Chef Director.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
I started washing up in a great pub at the age of 14 and feel in love with the kitchen.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
Passing on the knowledge and watching people grow.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Salt, butter and flour.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
A sharp knife!

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
Being proud of British ingredients and putting them centre stage.

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
Over complicating things.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
Spring going into summer, the first buds on a elderflower bush.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
Sourdough sticky toffee pudding.

How do you come up with new dishes?
Start with an ingredient or a waste product from another dish, then build from there using inspiration from dishes I have done in the past and also using social media.

Who was your greatest influence?
One of my first head chefs Neil Juniper who pushed me to try and if I failed at something its not a problem, learn from it and try again.

Tell us two chefs you admire.
Brett Graham and Pierre Koffmann.

What is your favourite cookbook?
Bread and butter by Richard Snapes.

Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
Gareth Ward at Ynyshir Hall.

What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
Sunday in Brooklyn.

The Ultimate Student Dinner Coming to Pembrokeshire College

A celebration dinner is being served at Pembrokeshire College on Thursday 16th September at 6.30pm, with dishes created by leading industry chefs. However, there’s a delicious twist to the event – the chefs won’t be present.

Their place in the kitchen will be taken by The Chefs’ Forum Academy students who were taught the dishes during masterclasses presented by the chefs in the last academic year – some in person, others via video link during lockdown.

Wendy Weber, Head of Health, Childcare and Commercial Enterprise said

“We are delighted to be embarking on our 2nd year with The Chefs’ Forum and excited to see some of the dishes on the menu from chef’s who worked closely with our learners last year.  Our learners had a great experience in a Covid year so we cannot wait for them to receive even more industry tips and ideas through the academic year 21/22.  We are so pleased to be a part of this fabulous initiative.

The dinner will be a chance for the students to put everything they’ve learnt into practice and it will be a true reflection of the incredible working partnership between Pembrokeshire College and The Chefs’ Forum Academy.”

Alan Wright, Hospitality Tutor said

“We have such an exciting start to the new academic year, with our Thursday evening service resuming for the general public. I am thrilled that our first Thursday evening is dedicated to The Chefs’ Forum Academy and based on some of the dishes produced by our new level three learners. It promises to be an evening to remember so book your table now to avoid disappointment.”

Tickets are priced at £19.95 for 3 courses and available to anyone – book by calling 01437 753165.

Dougie Balish, Head Chef at The Grove of Narberth said

“It is amazing to be teaching at The Chefs’ Forum Academy. It’s so fulfilling seeing young students progress into capable young chefs. I’ve got two students working with me in the kitchen now and the progress they’ve made is remarkable. It’s brilliant that they will be recreating one my dishes and I hope it gives them some inspiration for creating their own down the line!”

Tom Westerland, National Chef of Wales 2018 and Head Chef at Crockers Henley said

“It’s amazing to see all the new talent coming through into the industry. It’s always great to see how enthusiastic and excited they are, learning new skills and dishes. It makes me so proud to see them recreating my dish for the dinner. The industry has a very bright and exciting future.”

The menu, all cooked freshly on the night, features dishes by:


Lisa Fearn
Y Sied Cookery School
Chicken Velouté, croutons and micro herbs

Tom Westerland
National Chef of Wales 2018 & Head Chef at Crockers Henley
Grilled mackerel, heritage tomatoes, ricotta and cumin granola

Dougie Balish
Head Chef at The Grove of Narberth
Seasonal Vegetables, Hafod Cheddar purée, BBQ turnip tops and nettles


Hayden Groves
National Chef of the Year 2013
Chicken, chicory and blonde ale fondant potato

Cindy Challoner
Great British Menu Contestant 2019
Red mullet, squash fondant, Jerusalem artichoke & vanilla puree and nettle oil (GF)

Curry Leaf Korma
Roasted squash and garlic (V, VE, GF)


Ashleigh Farrand
Head Chef at The Kingham Plough
Chocolate rye cake, cherry, fudge sauce, and chocolate soil

 Thomas Leatherbarrow
Culinary Director of TLC Gourmet
Apple tart Tatin and anilla ice cream

New Pub Kitchen Seminar Exposes the Need to Harness New Technology

The Chefs’ Forum is proud to present a seminar for all pub kitchens on Monday 20th September in partnership with RATIONAL.

The two-hour event, from 9:00am to 11:00am will focus on how new technology is enabling pubs to do more with less and at the same time having a close look at topics such as Natasha’s Law, healthier menus, waste reduction and future staffing issues.

This is the fourth in a series of sector specific seminars in association with The Chefs’ Forum to gain valuable market insight to fine-tune RATIONAL’s approach to servicing stakeholders, tailor-made to their individual requirements.

During the seminar we will be screening a number of specialised films with leading pub groups and individuals who explain how harnessing new technology has improved efficiency and workflow in their kitchens through the use of ConnectedCooking and iKitchens.

Tim Foster, co-founder of the Yummy Pub Co is looking forward to discussing what he calls “…the polar extremes” of the pub trade.

He said:

Im really looking forward to bringing my industry peers together to discuss the polar extremes of the pub trade. It will be fantastic to share the positive changes we have made in terms of staff welfare, reduced hours and rotational training and development throughout all our sites.

It is crucial that we look after the chefs we have, investing in them to ensure they are happy and want to stay, as well as ensuring they learn every aspect of running a pub kitchen.  We have invested in the best equipment money can buy and our RATIONAL cooking system was our first major purchase on launching our first site.  Now we have RATIONAL in all four sites and would never have anything else.”

ConnectedCooking is set to become an integral part of how pub groups can exploit technology and Ross Pike, Chef Director of Oakman Inns explained why he is keen to share his knowledge on the seminar:

“With the recent acquisition of the Seafood Pub Company we are well on track to reach our target of forty sites by the end of 2021,” he said. “We have now connected all our RATIONAL cooking systems throughout all sites, so our recipes can be created by any of our chefs in any of our kitchens at the touch of a button.

I was well-aware of RATIONAL before joining Oakman, but since Ive been here, Ive really discovered what the companys cooking appliances are capable of in terms of market-leading technology and ConnectedCooking.”

Mike Down, owner of The Volunteer Inn in Devon, will be talking about how his new Rational system has revolutionised his kitchen in a completely new way:

“The cooking is shared between my wife Jacquie and Head Chef Gemma here at The Volunteer Inn.  We have a full iKitchen installed here and although a significant investment, it was one that we couldn’t have afforded not to make.  Our food trade has doubled, our staffing costs massively reduced as we can create our menu with only one chef in the kitchen at any one time.  We needed to put as much equipment as possible into a very small space and were able to improve every aspect of what we do here with RATIONAL iKitchen technology.”

The free-to-attend seminar is open to all pub chefs, owner operators, managers, kitchen planners and designers and will be particularly useful for future planning and for addressing the challenges and opportunities currently facing the sector as it recovers from being shut-down during the pandemic.

Hosted by The Chefs’ Forum’s Founder, Catherine Farinha and Director of Education, Neil Rippington the seminar will explore current topics affecting all elements of the pubs sector.

In particular the following topics will be discussed:

  • Natasha’s Law/Owen’s Law and allergens – Are you ready?
  • Technology
  • Healthier menu options and plant-based alternatives
  • Waste Reduction and Sustainability
  • Tomorrow’s Pub kitchens
  • The road to recovery post lockdown, looking forward to Christmas 2021
  • The next generation – Future Staffing and Training Requirements

Catherine and Neil will be joined by a stellar panel made up of the following experts:

  • Tim Foster, Co Founder – The Yummy Pub Company
  • Ross Pike, Chef Director – Oakman Inns
  • Mike Williams, Sales Director – RATIONAL
  • Shanti Bhushan,Executive Chef – Brigadiers, London
  • Mike Down & Jacqui Down with Head Chef Gemma Youlden – The Volunteer Inn, Devon

Delegates can register for FREE to attend the event.

Catherine Farinha said:

“We’re really excited for this seminar. We have been touring the country to see the new RATIONAL cooking system in action and hear what users are saying. It’s clear that technology can play a huge part in dealing with the current staffing crisis and enable chefs to be far more efficient.”

Any chefs wishing to register to attend the seminar should contact

Wild Boar Butchery with Hanks’ Meat & Game

If you understand basic pork butchery then the same applies for wild boar. But, it’s worth bearing in mind that because boar is leaner than some traditional pork cuts, like belly, will be less fatty and may need a different cooking method.

The rump and loin of wild boar, like beef, contain the best cuts for steaks and grills with the legs, shanks and shoulder providing the meant for braises, stews and the famous Italian dish of ragu – a perfect meaty partner for a pasta ribbon like pappardelle.

The main considerations for wild boar are potential cooking times and the age of the meat. According to expert butcher Tim Hanks boar needs a slower or longer cooking time

As boar gets older it gets a more intense flavour and a deeper colour. The time of year it is harvested can also have an effect on how you should approach butchery: at certain times of year like spring and summer the meat can be leaner.

Choosing the right cut of wild boar is going to depend on what you intend to do with it. If you are planning the more traditional braise then a fattier cut from the shoulder is where you should be looking. But don’t ignore the shank which on a boar carcass is much more appealing than from a pig.


As Tim Hanks demonstrates in the video there are good cuts to be had from the loin and the rump with off cuts and mince being used for burgers and sausages. Because wild boar is a darker colour than pork and has a more pronounced flavour it can be used instead of beef and this is a good way of approaching it.

Wild boar burgers and sausages offer customers an opportunity to try out a new meat that has all the hallmarks of a classic red meat yet comes from a sustainable and organic source.

Kudu’s New Peckham Concept Features a Braai & Allotment Vegetables

The Kudu Collective, run by Amy Corbin and chef Patrick Williams, will open its fourth site in Peckham next month. The new Kudu Grill will be located in a former Truman’s pub on Nunhead Lane and will consist of 50 covers.

At the centre of the operation will be a braai – a South African open grill that only uses wood and charcoal. Chef Patron Patrick will bring his South African roots to the fore, adding a playful twist to traditional food from the country. Bold flavours shine through in a menu showcasing the chef’s passion for fresh, seasonal British ingredients, some of which come from the couple’s allotment nearby. With most dishes coming straight from the open grill, the menu comprises five sections – snacks, starters, braai mains, sides and desserts.


  • Grilled potato flatbread with lardo, wild garlic Irish oysters, tomato dashi, trout roe Fried pigs’ tails with honey mustard Harissa beef tartar, coriander, crispy shallots Duck terrine, gribiche, biltong scratchings Grilled prawns, peri peri butter
  • Dry-aged T-bone with beer pickled onions and onion treacle bordelaise Cauliflower, caper raisin, goat’s curd and kale
  • Pork chop with monkey gland –
  • Whole black bream with zhug butter roti

Kudu Grill’s interior design has been led by Amy and A-nrd Studio. Raw brick and concrete walls line an open space which upholstered seats and booths with dark finishes add warmth to. Deep green and burgundy tones, Italian marble and holophane glass accents bring an art deco feel to the room, and a four-seater bar counter overlooks the custom-built braai.

“The aim was to create a sophisticated experience and a space that felt timeless and welcoming. The property itself and the customer experience had a big influence on how the space was designed,” the group said.


Amy Corbin and Patrick Williams opened Kudu on Queens Road, Peckham in January 2018 to great critical acclaim, winning legions of loyal fans for the creative, seasonal food and warm atmosphere. A Michelin Bib Gourmand quickly followed. In January 2020, the couple opened neighbourhood cocktail bar, Smokey Kudu, located under the arches by Queens Road station. May 2021, saw the opening of Curious Kudu, a gallery and private dining space accommodating up to 14 guests.

Patrick’s culinary career started in Cape Town’s renowned La Colombe and went on to work at Camphors at Vergelegen, before moving to London. He joined Robin Gill’s team firstly at The Manor and then, at Paradise Garage where he was a Sous Chef. Patrick’s partner and Kudu Collective co-owner

Amy grew up working in the industry; with her father being a successful London restaurateur she always dreamed of following in his footsteps.

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