From Japan to… Latvia!

The Chefs’ Forum is spreading its wings across the globe and working with international partners to share the culinary skill of UK chefs in new ways. Last month The Chefs’ Forum was in Japan visiting the Fukushima reactor and this month we went to Latvia and Lithuania where three chef stars showed-off their skills to a new, and receptive, audience.

At a special event put on by the largest and longest-serving Baltic supplier Reaton in Riga, chefs Hywel Griffith (Beach House Oxwich)  and Simon Wood (Wood Restaurant) shared their experiences of cooking at the top- level, showcasing their admirable culinary skill-set. Hywel Griffith cooked roasted veal chop with sweetbread and cep mushroom as well as roast loin of red deer with carrot and caraway puree.

Hywel is a stalwart proponent of meat and game and prides himself on innovating the finest flavour combinations, that have led him to both attain and retain a Michelin Star for the past three years.  This is the fist year that the highly-coveted and respected Michelin Guide and reviewers have come to Latvia, hence the reason why The Chefs’ forum was invited to introduce Latvian chefs to a UK chef who has managed to gain a star outside of 5-star hotels in London, rather at a costal dining destination in Swansea, with sustainability and provenance at the epicentre of everything they do.

Hywel said

“The produce was great and there was an exciting vibe about this brilliant event to celebrate 30 years of Reaton for Latvian chefs suppliers and buyers.  I was delighted to give the chefs from the Baltics tips, on how I worked my socks off, to gain my Michelin star for Beach House and also, most importantly,  the ways in which to retain it.  Great ingredients, provenance, meticulous attention to detail, innovation, creativity and passion is what it takes and wish my fellow chef peers in Riga and beyond, all the very best of luck in gaining well-deserved Michelin recognition.”

Simon Wood cooked salt and pepper prawns with toast and cavolo nori as well as turbot with coconut, continuing his journey of promoting Royal Greenland as a much-valued National Sponsor of The Chefs’ Forum in the UK…meanwhile in Latvia, he said

“It was fantastic to meet Royal Greenland Country Manager for Finland, Jarmo Eklund at our ‘post show’ suppliers’ dinner at Reaton  HQ in Riga.  Their prawns are superb and the Turbot that I had the privilege of cooking with on stage in Latvia was one of the largest and finest I’ve ever seen – The fact that they have been in business together for the past three decades speaks for itself!  I strongly believe in using the highest quality ingredients and incorporating them in an exciting tasting menu, so that my guests at Wood Restaurant can experience a culinary journey, that is not too filling, rather excites and thrills in every course. I’m really looking forward to continuing to champion Royal Greenland halibut and their exciting array seafood species and the hard work that goes into safeguarding the integrity of the produce.”

The previous week, chef Ping Coombes (MasterChef winner) took part in a similar event in Lithuania showcasing Asian food, she said

“Being invited to showcase Asian cuisine in Latvia was really exciting and interesting, especially as my genre of cuisine, although massively popular in the UK is relatively undiscovered or incorporated into menus in the Baltic states.  I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the Lithuanian chefs and Reaton Development chef Edgars, we all have a common love of food and it’s great to be able to introduce my dishes and Asian cooking techniques and flavours to fellow culinary peers across the globe – My happy place indeed!”

Vija Tirzmale, Head of Brand Development for Reaton in the Baltics said

 “Good food is made by good people and I strongly believe in that. By inviting top chefs over to Latvia from the UK we achieved something I’ve always wanted – exporting our great culinary talent and working with some of the best ingredients in the world – like the prawns from Royal Greenland which were on hand for Simon to work with.”

Catherine Farinha, Founder of The Chefs’ Forum concluded

“In Riga at the Reaton Professional Day, our chefs were able to explain how they cook at the very top level and found a very receptive audience keen to learn how its done in the UK – which is now one of the top culinary destinations in the world.  At The Chefs’ Forum we are delighted to be able to work alongside the students who will become the next top chefs and to be able to take top chefs abroad to show them new things.  Simon and Hywel presented in panel discussions around sustainability, labour and food waste.”

The Chefs’ Forum team is very much looking forward to participating in similar events moving forward and would welcome invitations to collaborate with any global food brand looking to partner with UK chefs and hospitality professionals.