Gloucestershire College Stages Ground-breaking Hospitality Industry Taster Day for Local Schools with The Chefs’ Forum Academy

The Chefs’ Forum Academy launched at Gloucestershire College in January 2016 to enhance employer-engagement for catering and hospitality students at the college.  Tuesday 20th February saw a fantastic showcase of culinary expertise, canapés, gastrophysics and butchery take place at the Royal Forest of Dean campus to showcase the industry and drive registrations for the coming academic year.

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.”

“If a handful of students who attended the 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 and its new, state of the art campus which will open this September for the new academic year.

Following on from recent celebrations of ‘one year of The Chef’s Forum Academy’, set up in 2016 with the College, this week’s event showcased more talented local chefs and industry specialists with a twist. The event aimed to showcase how rewarding and exciting a career in the sector can be, and inspire young chefs and industry stars of the future.

Take a look at The Chefs’ Forum Academy one year on…

Around 100 Year 9, 10 and 11 pupils from four local schools attended who were interested in the industry, including Dean Magna School, The Forest High School, The Dean Academy, and Newent Community School. Guests also included a number of Gloucester College staff members, including the Executive Team, including Chief Executive and Principal Matthew Burgess.

Guests were welcomed with non-alcoholic ‘mocktails’ created and served by Gloucestershire College hospitality students including a Royal Forest Raspberry Spritzer and a Royal Forest Mock Mojito, which were enjoyed by all. There was also a number of canapés on offer which were prepared by Gloucestershire College catering students along with GC chef lecturer, Matt Stead, and professional chefs from The Chefs Forum.

Guests were first introduced to the flythrough of our new campus currently under construction in Cinderford by Vice Principal Sandra Tyrrell – which you can watch here – to showcase the facilities that progressing and new students joining us in the Forest of Dean from September 2018 will enjoy. The new campus is both environmentally friendly and high-tech, especially for our catering and hospitality students who will be able to learn in industry standard kitchens and our purpose build restaurant which will cater to the public.

Before the culinary showcase began, guests were also introduced to the catering and hospitality industry and the careers that a qualification in this sector could lead to by HR Manager of Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, Nicki Cotton.

StephenEllyThe culinary demos began with a molecular gastronomy demonstration from UK curry chef of the year, Stephen Gomes.  Next was Professional Masterchef finalist Elly Wentworth of Lucknam Park with a Michelin-starred salmon dish. A butchery demonstration from award-winning butcher, Jack Cook, a fourth-generation butcher working at Walter Rose & Son in Devizes, Wiltshire then followed, accompanied by Chefs’ Forum Academy Chef Ross Hunter who used the expertly cut meat to create a delicious dish.

JackEven more treats followed Elly’s demonstration with Jack Cook coming to the stage once again to allow the guests to try some delicious sausages made at Walter Rose & Son for a Haute Dog.

All chef demonstration dishes were accompanied by taster canapés of the same dish being served by Gloucestershire College front of house students to the visiting school children.

ElisabethMore culinary delights followed with a tapas demonstration by renowned chef and Spanish Masterchef Professional contestant Elisabeth Julienne who produced a delicious cheese soufflé for the budding young chefs.

Year 9, 10 and 11 students from our invited schools were then given the opportunity to speak to representatives from The Chefs’ Forum and Gloucestershire College catering and hospitality lecturers about careers in the industry, learning at Gloucestershire College and the new campus before heading back to their schools.

Sandra Tyrrell, Site Principal, said:

“The day was thoroughly enjoyed by all, and it was fantastic to see so many young faces inspired to consider careers in catering and hospitality, with demonstrations by talented local chefs and industry experts.”

“Our collaboration with The Chefs’ Forum Academy continues strongly, with professional chefs from Gloucestershire, The Cotswolds, Bath and beyond coming to our campuses every Monday to deliver cookery masterclasses in their unique cooking styles. We look forward to welcoming them at our new campus restaurant from September.”

MarkAt the one-year anniversary of this collaboration, Mark Hyde-Catton, Chef Lecturer and Coordinator of The Chefs’ Forum Academy at Gloucestershire College stated:

“The students have really enjoyed their sessions with the visiting chefs this year and have given very overwhelmingly positive feedback on their experiences with the visiting culinary experts.”

“The Chefs’ Forum Academy is a valuable platform that offers employer engagement and a fantastic opportunity for them to build relationships with local chefs and employers and secure work experience placements with them.”

For more information on catering at GC visit