Axe Throwing, Archery and Dong Ding at Lucknam Park

Chefs from Bath and the Cotswolds showed off their physical skills, as well as their cooking skills at the latest meeting of The Chefs’ Forum yesterday (September 21).

Guests at the event, which was held at the beautiful Lucknam Park Hotel near Colerne, had the chance to try their hand at axe throwing and archery, alongside the rather more genteel activity of tea tasting, and a tour of the hotel’s kitchen garden.

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Hywel briefing students on canapes - CopyThe event began with a Nyetimber and canapé reception, with the canapés prepared by Hywel Jones, Executive Chef at Lucknam Park, with the help of students from Bath College, Gloucestershire College and HIT Training. During the reception chefs also had the chance to network with top suppliers and sponsors.
Hywel said: “Thanks to the students for all their help, and thanks also to the sponsors and all those who supplied the ingredients.”

Bridget Halford of Bath College - CopyBridget Halford, Head of Department for Hospitality, Hair, Beauty and Floristry at Bath College, spoke about how The Chefs’ Forum events benefit the students.

She said: “I just think that The Chefs’ Forum events are great for our young people.

“It is great for them to get out and get as much experience as possible. We currently have two ex-students working at Lucknam Park.”

“I have an excellent relationship with Hywel, but I will have a relationship with any Head Chef because I am passionate about getting our young people out into industry and into the right jobs and making sure they are happy and they will stay.”

Hywel DemonstrationHywel's Scallop Demonstration Dish - CopyFollowing the reception guests were treated to a cooking demonstration by Hywel in Lucknam Park’s Cookery School. Hywel demonstrated two dishes from the menu at the hotel’s The Park restaurant which has just retained its Michelin star for the 11th year.

Using locally sourced ingredients he quickly cooked up a dish of Cornish turbot with iceberg lettuce, Cornish crab, artichokes, macaroni and a butter sauce, followed by King scallops with carrot three ways and a spiced pork croquette.

Tour of the Kitchen Garden - CopyThere was then a chance to visit the kitchen garden to see where many of the ingredients used in the kitchens are grown.

Ben Taylor, who heads up the cookery school, said: “You cannot fail to cook seasonally when you are given products straight out of the garden.

“It is amazing what the gardeners have managed to do with the space.”

Rob Comins from Comins Tea conducting Tea Tasting - CopyComins Tea - Copy

It was then time to enjoy a Wiltshire cream tea, and a tea tasting led by Rob Comins from Comins Tea House in Dorset, who explained the differences between the white, green and black teas.  Chefs enjoyed tasting Oolong and Dong Ding tea and seemed captivated by Rob’s fascinating narrative.

Anthony Benedict from Cheltenham Park Hotel Axe ThrowingMichellin star chef Michael North from The Nut Tree doing Archery - CopyThe event finished with the chance to try archery and axe throwing led by the experts at Team Pursuits, in the stunning grounds of Lucknam Park.

Founder of The Chefs’ Forum Catherine Farinha said: “Thank you to all our sponsors who came along, including Nyetimber, Clifton Food Range, Global Knives, Adande, Unox, DC Products, MCS, Wiltshire Liqueurs, CCS, Walter Rose, Koppert Cress and Comins Tea. And a special thanks to our newest sponsor Easy Jose coffee.  The support of these top quality suppliers enables our events to happen, inspiring young people and creating a valuable networking platform for top chefs from which to socialise, share knowledge and best practice”.

Photography by Craig Howarth: