Sous-vide, Snags and Crabs at Boringdon Hall

Over sixty top chefs from across Devon flocked to Boringdon Hall for a day of knowledge sharing, cookery demos and networking.   Hospitality students and apprentices from South Devon College, Hit Training and JTJ Workplace Solutions got their chance to assist celebrity chef Peter Gorton and head chef Katie Richardson in the kitchen and shine in front of local employers.

One cannot fail to be impressed by the luxurious sixteenth century manor house on the fringes of Plymouth.  The students, all on courses with local training providers, worked together to produce a fabulous canapé selection to showcase Katie’s delicious menu at Boringdon Hall.  Front of house students then served the guests and explained each canapé in impressive detail. All ingredients for canapés were kindly donated by our fantastic sponsors; Total Produce, Walter Rose & Son, Favis of Salcombe, Harvey & Brockless and Flying Fish Seafoods.

Favis Lobster on the Monolith Kamado GrillThe Chefs’ Forum is all about bringing together the next generation of hospitality professionals with perspective employers and this event did just that. After her welcome speech, Chefs’ Forum Founder, Catherine Farinha spoke of the importance of supporting industry events like these, she said:

“I am delighted with the excellent level of attendance at today’s event and the students from South Devon College, Hit Training Academy and JTJ Workplace Solutions have done a fantastic job working under Katie and Peter. They have learned new skills and have really interacted with prominent local employers.  It is fantastic to hear them described as ‘driven’ and ‘grafters’ by Peter and Katie – A must for the professional kitchen!”

Backwater Adventure ArcheryPeter added: “Today’s learners showed great promise. I have really enjoyed working with them.  Katie too was very pleased with the way they got their heads down and produced some excellent food – I just love working with young people, it makes events like these so rewarding”.

Team-building activities of archery and rifle shooting were laid on by Devon-based activity company Backwater Adventures.  This was very effective in encouraging the chefs and students to talk in an informal environment – Perfect for securing trial shifts and work experience! This was accompanied by a delicious Monolith Kamado BBQ of Favis of Salcombe Lobster with Walter Rose sausages and chicken wings!

Favis Of Salcombe and Katie's DemoNext on the menu was a fascinating demonstration by Favis of Salcombe Ltd in picking and dressing Salcombe crab.  The freshly-picked crab meat was then used in Katie’s demo to a room full of industry experts (no pressure there then).  Peter then took the stage to showcase a Thai-style lacquered quail with carrot and star anise syrup.  This was then cooked sous-vide in a Clifton Food Range water bath and served with Asian coleslaw. Peter and Katie then joined forces to create a fromage blanc mousse with pineapple and melon Carpaccio and Indian spiced Ice Cream.  Chefs eagerly tasted the finished dishes and were extremely impressed with them all.

Cracking Favis CrabThis event proved a huge success and extremely worthwhile for all who took part.  The next Devon event will take place at The Deerpark Hotel on Monday 27th July.  Any chefs looking to attend should contact Alexandra Duncan on 07870 584450 or email:

Photography by Andrew Plant: