Bristol Chefs Enjoy a Royal Culinary Convention!

Bristol chefs gathered at the Bristol Marriott Royal yesterday for a day of menu inspiration, knowledge sharing, wine tasting, cookery demos and hospitality industry networking organised by The Chefs’ Forum. Highlights of the day included Executive Chef, Enrico Luise demonstrating his signature fish dishes, a student éclair filling and decoration competition and a fantastic ‘Royal’ afternoon tea made and served by catering students from two local colleges.

Weston College student prepparing canapesGuests were met at midday by a champagne reception accompanied by a delicious range of canapés made by chef Enrico and the students from City of Bristol College and Weston College:

CanapesBeetroot crispy brioche, Fresh ostrich walnut loaf, Smoked chicken savoury beignet, Tomato puff pastry, Tuna tartare with coffee and mango, Scallop skewers with chilli and ginger.  The guests devoured the delicious canapés and took the opportunity to catch up with friends old and new.

The Chefs’ Forum Founder, Catherine Farinha then gave a welcome speech, telling culinary experts about the highly-successful Chefs’ Forum Academy at Weston College and the newly-launched Chefs’ Forum Educational Foundation, incorporated to raise funds for young people aged 14-25 in the hospitality industry, helping with work experience travel costs and vital equipment needed to support them in their studies.

It was great for the local employers to understand the importance as to why it is so crucial that they support the next generation of hospitality professionals to lessen the National skills gap and encourage more young people into the industry.

Enrico cookery demoExpert fish man, Darren Whelan of Kingfisher Brixham opened the show with an impressive fish filleting demo showcasing seasonal species and talking the chefs through sustainable menu choices. Host Chef Enrico Luise then followed with an impressive live cookery demonstration:

Enrico's demo dishBraised scallop, liquorice essence with saffron cauliflower mash, crispy orange dusted prawns with a fresh basil beurre blanc.

Chef Enrico Luise is a great example of career progression, in that he has worked at Marriott hotels and leading kitchens all over the world.  He is living proof of the career progression opportunities within the Marriott Group and also the wider hospitality industry.

The Bristol Marriott Royal welcomed over sixty top chefs from Bristol and Surrounds, including renowned Bristol new-comer Elliott Lidstone of Box-E, Tom Green from Fosters Catering, Martin Baker of Tracy Park, Chris Rutherford from The Glass Boat and TV Chefs Pat Hart and Sherrie Eugene –Hart signing their newly-published Carib-Asian Cookery Book.

City of Bristol and Weston College learners relished the opportunity to network with Enrico and Team Marriott, as well as each other.  The Chefs’ Forum encourages young people to start networking whilst still studying to make for a wider contacts base once they enter the world of work.  The students walked away with a total of six job offers from the attending chefs, which is very rewarding for all involved.

Ryan Fernandes, Chef Lecturer at City of Bristol College stated:  “The College has worked with The Chefs’ Forum since its inception in 2011. As a College, we are looking to improve our links with Bristol-based employers in the catering industry and The Chefs’ Forum is a perfect vehicle to do this.  Chefs’ Forum events help us to keep in touch with industry and improve communication with professional kitchens on a local level, this event has been great and the students have had a fantastic day”.

The Chefs’ Forum launched six years ago and has since expanded to include highly accredited chefs, catering colleges and top suppliers from London to Cornwall, Wales to Kent. It is due to launch in Birmingham next month.

Catherine Farinha, Founder of The Chefs’ Forum and event organiser concluded: “We have forged valuable links between the catering colleges and top chefs across the South of the UK and it is wonderful to stage another event in Bristol where it all started. The event brought top chefs and students together with local employers and gave Executive Chef Enrico the chance to showcase his excellent cooking to his peers and the next generation, proving yet again that they are learning from the very best in the business”.

Elair decorating competitionThe day finished with a fantastic ‘éclair filling and decorating’ competition between the two colleges.  It was a tough call as all students produced some fantastic work, but it was Lauren Murphy (18) who was crowned the winner by Marriott Pastry Chef Joe Ladd, winning a day in the pastry kitchen with him and a signed copy of Sherrie and Pat’s new book.Comp winner Lauren Murphy with Pastry Chef Joe Ladd and Sherrie Eugene-Hart

The next Bristol Chefs’ Forum event will take place on Monday 27th March, any chefs wishing to attend should contact Catherine Farinha on 07585 700030.

Photography by Andrew Plant: