Coleg Gwent staged ground-breaking Hospitality Industry Taster Day for Local Schools with The Chefs’ Forum Academy

The Chefs’ Forum Academy launched at Coleg Gwent in September 2019 to enhance employer-engagement for catering and hospitality students at the college.  Wednesday (29) January saw a fantastic showcase of culinary expertise, canapés, cookery demos and butchery take place at Marriott St Pierre (Chepstow) to showcase the industry and drive registrations to Coleg Gwent hospitality courses for the coming academic year.

Executive Chef (Marriott St Pierre), Gareth Hope welcomed students from Coleg Gwent into his kitchen to make canapés, Welsh beef burgers and Welsh lamb haute dogs for the 250 school pupils who attended.  All Welsh lamb and beef were kindly donated by Hybu Cig Cymru (Meat Promotion Wales).  The menu really celebrated all the top-quality ingredients available to chefs in Wales.

Rebecca Harris, Human Resources Manager at the hotel introduced the plethora of careers available, from HR, to hotel and event management and front to back of house in an upscale operation such as Marriott St Pierre and the global travel opportunities with the brand.

Newbridge School, St Cenydd, St Martin’s School attended from Wales, with Dean Magna, Forest High, Dean Academy and Newent School all attending from the Forest of Dean across the bridge.

Front of House Student 800The GCSE students were served delicious canapès and Welsh cheese from Bwyd a Diod Cymru (Fine Foods Wales Cluster) and mocktails on arrival by the front of house students, lead by the Marriott banqueting team.

The canape menu comprised, welsh lamb faggots with pea puree, braised beef shin and Yorkshire pudding with a horseradish crème fraiche, Welsh rarebit with a Welsh bitter ketchup.

Some inspirational demonstrations then followed assisted by the school pupils:

Sausage Making 2 800Merguez lamb sausage and Welsh beef burger-making and hand tying by Master Butcher Mark Cardle, with an insight into careers in butchery and meat marketing by Emily Rees of Hybu Cig Cymru.

Then followed a cookery masterclass by Marriott Executive Chef Gareth Hope, as he cooked Welsh lamb cutlets with potato dauphinoise and pea purée and Welsh lamb faggots. This was all finished and plated with a lamb demi-glace (sauce) and expertly plated for all to admire!

Tom Pastry Demo 800Next was Chefs’ Forum Academy guest lecturer Tom Everard-Fairburn (Thornbury Castle) with his fabulous dessert demo of rhubarb and caramel parfait with caramelised puff pastry, poached rhubarb and apple with an insight into becoming a pastry chef.

The day finished with an éclair filling and decorating competition which was won by Ashleigh Thomas and Keira May Morgan, aged fourteen, both of Forest High School who won an afternoon tea for four people at Marriott St Pierre to enjoy with their teacher and a guest!

Chefs’ Forum Founder Catherine Farinha stated

“It was a real honour to be asked to stage this event by the college.  The Chefs’ Forum Academy is going from strength to strength and feedback from teaching staff and students is fantastic.”

Eclaire Decoration Comp 800“If a handful of students who attend the forthcoming Hospitality Industry Taster Day event are inspired to study catering and hospitality as a result of the fantastic industry experts on show today, then our work is done.  We are collectively combatting the chef shortage and showcasing how fantastic a career in the industry can be!”

The decision was taken to stage an industry taster day for 14-16’s from local feeder schools to raise the profile of careers within the hospitality in Wales and the fantastic curriculum enrichment offered to students studying catering and hospitality at Coleg Gwent.  The College has invested in an enhanced programme of study which sees guest chefs visit the students in their training kitchens and cook with them for a three-hour session each week.

Helen Lawless, Head of School – Services to People concluded

“Our collaboration with The Chefs’ Forum Academy is working very well indeed for all involved; We have received great feedback from our learners, teaching staff and the chefs as guest lecturers. Professional chefs from all over Wales are coming to teach in our college eaWelcome 800ch week, delivering cookery masterclasses in their unique cooking styles – We are currently the only college in Wales to offer such an intensive level of curriculum enrichment with The Chef’ Forum Academy.  Any young person coming to Coleg Gwent can expect to learn from the very best in the business, in their usual learning environment.  Coleg Gwent is proud to invest in its students: The next generation of hospitality professionals.”

The interactive event aimed to showcase how rewarding and exciting a career in the sector could be and inspire young chefs and industry stars of the future.

The budding young chefs were given the opportunity to speak to representatives from The Chefs’ Forum Academy, Coleg Gwent catering and hospitality lecturers and the Marriott Careers team about careers in the industry, learning at Coleg Gwent and the masterclasses they can expect to enjoy if they choose to study hospitality and catering at Coleg Gwent.

For more information on hospitality and catering courses at Coleg Gwent visit: