Classic Showcase Wows Chefs at NEW Southwest Hub Launch

Classic Fine Foods pulled out all the stops at their South West showcase event at the Courtyard by Marriott in Exeter on Monday.

Exquisite ingredients such as Sturia caviar, Valrhona chocolate, Westholme Wagyu and local wood pigeon were on display and used in masterclasses by top chefs from the South West as well as butchery masterclasses from Richard Sanders of Classic Butcher.

Michael Caines trained private chef Jade Shorney used his favourite caviar from Sturia in her stunning scallop dish, plated on Wedgwood.

Sturia was set up near Bordeaux 20 years ago and has pioneered sustainable sturgeon farming in France. It produces around 12 tonnes of caviar a year, which is sold all over the world. Sturia’s caviar is lightly salted, which releases all of its long hazelnut flavours on your palate.

Faustine Daudier de Cassini, Caviar specialist and Export Area Manager at Sturia was on hand to sample the product to the chefs and tell them all about the ‘egg to egg’ production process, ensuring every part of the sturgeon harvested is used once dispatched.

Jade’s dish – Scallops, apple, pork ‘popcorn’ and samphire with a chive oil split white wine sauce.

Scott Paton Exec Chef and John Brimicombe, Pastry Chef at Àclèaf at Boringdon Hall created Valrhona Chocolate & Honey Bonbon using Valrhona’s Guanaja which included a masterclass on how and why do we temper chocolate.

Next up was Classic Butchery’s in-house butcher, Richard Sanders with a brilliant presentation on how to achieve the perfect big steaks, you guessed it – Tomahawk and T-Bone.

He then cut some sirloin and rump steaks that were seared to perfection on the market-leading FlashGRILL, which rendered the chefs silent as they gleefully sampled the juicy Westcountry beef – A wonderful product indeed.

Catherine Farinha, Director of The Chefs’ Forum, said:

“Chefs all over the world love Westcountry beef for its extraordinarily rich flavour, marbling, consistency and versatility.

It’s great that Classic also sell specialist products like Australian Wagyu alongside domestic product and even New Meat product Redefine Meat, which was also on display – It’s so great that chefs can benefit from the full range.

We’re doing a lot of work this year with Meat & Livestock Australia, staging a whole string of events all over the UK to champion top-quality Aussie wagyu and beef.

Wagyu is a specialist product and we can be assured that Westholme champion sustainable production methods and high animal welfare.”

MCS Technical Products have supplied a fantastic FlashGRILL and CookTek induction hobs to The Chefs’ Forum demo stage and this market-leading equipment meant the chefs were able to create their exquisite dishes to perfection.

Chef Richard Hunt from the Exeter Courtyard by Marriott cooked up a storm with his Sirloin of Westholme wagyu, potato Galette, celeriac and truffle purée. Beef dripping panko-crusted asparagus, beef jus and aged balsamic, all produced on the FlashGRILL with the help of David Jenkins, our Grill Master for the day!

Darryl Collins from Mullion Cove Hotel then followed with a Valrhona eggless hazelnut cake, which really was a thing of beauty.  Having developed an egg allergy over recent years, he has really become an expert at thinking outside the box, making delicious desserts available to all.

Vania Piomboni, Valrhona Country Manager for UK & Ireland told the chefs about the origin of the Hukambi 53% milk chocolate, which is a relatively new product from the world-leading chocolate producers.

L-R – Anthony Theobold (Head Chef at Mullion Cove), Darryl Collins, Vania Piomboni and Denis Drame

She said

“Hukambi is a chocolate that brings together all the indulgence and pleasure of rounded cocoa notes. The intense cocoa and milk aspects with dark flavour notes and the powerful aromas of Brazilian cocoa – A real crowd-pleaser in that it offers the best of both worlds – Black (“Hu”) and milk (“Kambi”) as its name translates in Tupi-Guarani, a language spoken by one of the indigenous peoples living in Brazil’s Mata Atlantica.  It’s great to be here today meeting all of the fantastic chefs from the southwest, I am overjoyed that Classic have now expanded to this wonderful region and look forward to working with the chefs ongoing.”

Denis Drame – Head of Culinary and Development at Classic Fine Foods presented The TasteLab by Classic Fine Foods London. The TasteLab is a place to meet, share and learn in a relaxed environment and the southwest chefs will be invited to come and enjoy some menu development days at the fantastic facility.

Chris McClurg from Paul Ainsworth at No6 created “All of the Pigeon (No6 Hay Aged)” – Umeboshi condiment and Black Cardamom.  The meticulous, delicious and impressive dish was put together by Head Chef Mason Winwood.

The chefs were delighted to present French farmed pigeon, available from Classic, that Chris says is simply the best.

Krishna Quarrell, Classic Fine Foods Sales Manager said:

“It was a great day and all our guests had a chance to see what a fabulous array of top ingredients we bring with us – It was also brilliant to see how the chefs incorporated them into delicious dishes cooked live on The Chefs’ Forum demo stage . We can supply some of the world’s very best ingredients, as well as local specialities that make Classic Fine Foods one of the best specialist suppliers in the Southwest.”

Catherine Farinha, Director of The Chefs’ Forum, said:

Charlotte Penwill

“We had so much fun today, running the demo stage at Classic’s Southwest Hub launch. Devon and the Southwest is already a rich area for world-class ingredients but we saw a different level today with ingredients coming in from all over the world – Such a beautiful display of ingredients, products and produce put together by Team Classic and the brands who partnered with them. With this much excellence, chefs in the Southwest really can shine and get hold of brands and ingredients previously only available in London and the larger cities.”

Any chefs interested in learning more about Classic Fine Foods and the fabulous range of over 3,000 specialist lines offered should contact Charlotte Penwill, South West Account Manager at Classic Fine Foods –