Chefs, Bees and Honey with Adam Handling at St Ermin’s Hotel

Top young chef Adam Handling, winner of British Chef of the Year hosted a Chefs’ Forum event at St Ermin’s Hotel showcasing honey from London’s first bee ‘Bee and Bee’ situated the hotel’s roof in Central London!

Top London chefs and food industry people congregated in the opulent Crystal Ballroom at St Ermin’s Hotel for a day of cookery demonstrations, networking and all things ‘chef’ with a chance to meet young hospitality students from South Thames College in their quest to show off their skills and secure summer work placements.

Founded in 2010 by Catherine Farinha, The Chefs’ Forum now holds regular chefs conventions from London, to the Cotswolds and Cornwall as well as in Kent. Its second London event was very well-received by all involved and Adam was an excellent host!

Young Scot, Adam (25), Head Chef of the Caxton Grill at St Ermin’s  Hotel was a much-praised finalist in BBC2’s’ MasterChef: The Professionals’ 2013 and tipped as one of the ‘30 under 30’ to watch in The Caterer’s 2013 Acorn Awards, Adam has already won many further accolades in 2014.  Crowned 2014 British Culinary Federation Chef of the Year on 7th April, he is now also a finalist in The Craft Guild National Chef of the Year which culminates at The Restaurant Show in London this October.

Clearly a very busy young man, Adam kindly took time out of his busy schedule to mentor five hospitality students from South Thames College: Three in the kitchen and two, front of house.  The students assisted Adam and his team in the preparation and service of fantastic canapés for the fifty top chefs in attendance. The students displayed great aptitude and professionalism and area credit to their college.

Adam commented:
I started my training at 16 as an apprentice chef at Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland.  I really enjoy working with young people and have been very impressed with the South Thames students today.  Giving up time in their summer holidays to work at this event is truly admirable and shows that they are serious about a career in the industry”.

Clarissa Smith (19) a level 2 student at South Thames College said:
This has been an amazing experience – to work with Adam in this beautiful hotel has really encouraged me, I am sure that the industry is for me and have really appreciated being part of this amazing event”.

Adam performed a fantastic Asian cookery demonstration: Starter – Chicken and Lobster yellow curry with ponzu and a main course of Turbot with basil and courgettes, shiso and pak choi.

He added:
I do demos at food festivals all the time to thousands of people but have never been as nervous as I was today doing the same for my peers! It has been a real honour to host The Chefs’ Forum at St Ermin’s Hotel and it has been fantastic to talk to all the chefs, student and suppliers”.

The finest ingredients for the canapés and demos were donated by Chefs’ Forum Sponsors Walter Rose & Son, First Choice Produce and Turners Fine Foods. Guests also enjoyed Comins tea and Borough Coffee Company Coffee to accompany Adam’s feast of little bites showcasing his ‘Nibbles’ menu at the Caxton Grill.

Adam Handling’s Canapés:

To round off the day, the chefs were taken on a fascinating tour of the Bee Hotel, the first of its kind in London. The honey from the ‘Bee and Bee’ is incorporated in the menu by Adam at the Caxton Grill

Rob Davis of First Choice Produce, an expert bee keeper, gave a fascinating insight into bee-keeping, risks posed to the UK bee population and how to get started if chefs fancy taking it up as a hobby.

Catherine Farinha, Chefs’ Forum Founder said: “It’s been a thoroughly inspiring day – This is our second London event having launched at Westminster Kingsway College last May. The Chefs’ Forum is going from strength to strength seeing quarterly events staged in London, Kent, The Cotswolds, Bath, Bristol, Devon, Dorset and Cornwall, I would urge chefs across the south of the UK to get involved in this extremely positive industry organisation that oils the wheels of communication across the various elements of the industry: Education, professional kitchens and top suppliers”.

This event was above all, a testament to Adam Handling and his team at St Ermin’s Hotel and the talented students at South Thames College.  The next London event will take place at South Thames College on the 29th September where chefs will enjoy an expert-led urban forage.  The Chefs’ Forum would love to hear from London Chefs wishing to attend.

 Photography by Katinka Herbert: