Butchery, Coffee & Cookery at Amélies in Porthleven

September (11) saw around 70 top chefs from across Cornwall gather at Amélies Restaurant in the pretty harbour town of Porthleven.

Donato and studentsStudents from Cornwall College and Truro & Penwith College joined forces to prepare and serve delicious canapés, showcasing fantastic produce from Matthew Stevens Fish, Two Brothers Foods, Total Produce and Koppert Cress.

First up on the agenda was a fascinating pork butchery demonstration by Gavin Roberts of Two Brothers Foods braking down half a pig and talking chefs through how to achieve various cuts of meat.

Gavin spoke of the popularity of the oysters from the pig’s cheeks or chaps.

He said:

When a chef puts in an order for fifty oysters they need to realise the amount of pigs needed to fulfil that order, it would be twenty five as there are only two oysters per body.”

Gavin butchery demoHe continued:

We pride ourselves on the provenance of our pork and have stringent welfare standards to which we fully adhere. The less stress endured by the animal on slaughter makes for a better eating experience of its meat.”

Gavin then switched-on the sausage-making machine and commandeered two students to take part in a live ‘sausage-making and tying’ challenge. Gavin proceeded to demonstrate how the machine fills natural casings with the pork sausage mix and how hand tie them.

The students did extremely well at following Gavin’s instructions and confidently produced some impressive strings of sausages, expertly tied, a brilliant first attempt!

Gavin was so impressed, he invited both students to his cutting plant for a day’s work experience in butchery.

Gavin then cut some neat pork chops and a flawless pork loin for Keith Howland (Development Chef at Welbilt UK) to cook on the Garland Inducs induction griddle, finishing it in the Convotherm Mini-Combi oven.

He then produced a second dish of Vietnamese Basa en papillote in the Convotherm Mini-Combi oven using the ingenious ‘tray timer’, which allows a chef to run the oven constantly, facilitating three trays of food items to be cooked simultaneously when started at varying times.  The technology ensures that food is cooked, only for the time required, eradicating the risk of over-cooking.

Keith said:

“The Mini-Combi gives you all the function of a full-size combi oven, with the smallest footprint. It is ideal where space in the professional kitchen is at a premium. The Garland Inducs is very responsive and only needs to be switched-on when you need to use it.  It provides a cooler environment in which to work as opposed to gas powered alternatives and is more energy-efficient”.

Keith talked the chefs through the impressive technology behind the market-leading equipment, and the chefs showed a keen interest.

Sam from Clifton CoffeeSam MacCuaig of Clifton Coffee (Wholesale & Distribution Manager) next took the floor to sample a delicious Brazilian filter coffee to the chefs as afternoon tea canapés were served to accompany.

Sam pledged his willingness to work with the guests to give them fantastic coffee offer to their restaurants and seamless training and barrista skills with Speciality Coffee Association accredited courses.

Sea bass in the wood ovenHost and Head Chef, Donato Dondiego fired-up the built-in wood-fired oven and expertly baked some delicious local sea bass from Matthew Stevens Fish. He explained how Cornwall is very similar to his Italian coastal home town just outside Rome, where fresh fish is in abundance.  He explained that all of his cooking centres around fantastic local ingredients with influences from the Mediterranean, French and of course, Italian cuisine.

He then made his way to the demo stage where he prepared his signature dish of linguine alla vongole, finished simply with parsley and olive oil – Again the chefs tucked-in and gave their professional thumbs-up to the simple, tasty dish.

The day finished with a fantastic barbeque of hotdogs, showcasing the award-winning Kernow Sausage Co, a sister company Two Brothers Foods.  The brilliant bangers were accompanied with juicy grilled tiger prawns from Matthew Stevens Fish.

Catherine Farinha, Founder oDonato at the passf The Chefs’ Forum concluded:

Today was a huge success, Donato was a pleasure to work with and the students were extremely professional.  It was great to see a good show of familiar faces and many new too, all enhancing their skills in pork butchery, sausage making and Italian cookery – Another fantastic Cornish event for The Chefs’ Forum”.

The Chefs’ Forum returns to Cornwall on the 23rd October where the collective of industry professionals will stage its Autumn gathering at Appleton’s at Trevibban Mill Vineyard near Padstow.  Acclaimed chef Andy Appleton will play host and the event will feature a tour of the vineyard and wine tasting – All chefs and front of house professionals are welcome to attend and are asked to email alexandra@redcherry.uk.com to secure their place at the event.

Photography by: www.fayditphotography.com