Kent Chefs Celebrate Game at Hythe Imperial

The Chefs’ Forum returned to Hythe Imperial for a second time on Monday 4th September.  The fantastic venue saw forty top chefs convene to inspire each other’s menus, share knowledge and best practice in terms of game meat sourcing, butchery and cookery.

The four-star hotel situated on the Kent coast has been undergoing an extensive £1m refurbishment since December 2016, with its bedrooms, housekeeping and hospitality given an impressive upgrade.  The management and kitchen team were delighted to see so many hospitality professionals gather at the hotel.  They took the opportunity to showcase the great work they are doing and show-off impressive progress developments since they last hosted The Chefs’ Forum in 2016.

Marie Long, Sales Manager stated:

“We are so honoured to be hosting this exciting event in our magnificent ballroom, overlooking the stunning Kent coastline.  We have previously hosted this prestigious industry event and are delighted to be doing so again. With the amazing multimillion pound investment in renovations throughout our iconic hotel, we are excited to be able to finally showcase what we have been working so hard to achieve.”

Josh from Clifton CoffeeClifton CoffeeThe day started with a presentation by Clifton Coffee as Sam MacCuig and Josh Clarke introduced the chefs and front of house professionals to their E1 Espresso Project, talking chefs through the supply chain, unique values and ethical practices that make Clifton Coffee a market-leading coffee supplier in the UK. Josh, Head of Coffee, explained the provenance of the fantastic single origin coffee being at sampled at the event produced by Ricardo Lima in El Salvador.  The flavours of marmalade, damson plums and caramel proved a real hit with the industry experts and perfectly complimented indulgent platters of canapés and petit fours produced by John and his team.

Jack Venison ButcheryNext, was fantastic game butchery demonstration by Jack Cook of the multi-award-winning Walter Rose & Son. Jack expertly broke down a saddle of venison to create a flawless loin of venison that was used in chef demos by John and his sous chef Andy Holden.

John and Andy impressed their peers with his demo of venison loin, carrot puree, carrot fondants, potato crisps and blackberry jus.

John said:

John Demo Dish“Today has been brilliant, it was a great opportunity to network with chefs from the Kent area, catching up with friends old and new.  Incorporating butchery into our chef demos worked really well and it was a proud moment seeing my sous chef Andy cooking in front of all those people. He’s with me full time in the kitchen, so it’s only right he should take the stage with me -We are a team.”

Jack then showed the chefs the best way to prepare a wood pigeon and fondly talked them through the reasons why game meat is so interestingly inconsistent. He explained that the location on the body where the beasts or birds are shot has a real effect on the quality and eating of the meat.  He also talked about constraints in availability and seasonality of game meat as well as the importance of sourcing game meat responsibly, from reputable, licenced dealers as Walter Rose does.

Keith DemoAt the same time, the chef theatre was enhanced by an expert demo by Keith Howland utilising Jack’s freshly butchered venison, showcasing the Convotherm Mini Combi oven and the Garland INDUCS griddle – Two great pieces of equipment for the professional kitchen.

Keith demo on the Garland GrillKeith seared the venison on the griddle then finished in in the oven. He then plated delicious taster dishes of venison saddle, savoy cabbage, pancetta with a sherry vinegar dressing which the chefs greatly enjoyed.

Paul Da Costa GreavesTo add to the culinary mix, Master Chef of Great Britain and Koppert Cress UK Sales Manager Paul Da Costa Greaves expertly paired some Koppert Cress varieties to the demo dishes; Shiso Purple® with its taste reminiscent of cumin and Tahoon® with its strong beechnut taste.  Both cresses are perfect for game dishes and make a fantKoppert Cressastic integral ingredient as opposed as a garnish as cress has been historically utilised.  Koppert Cress has launched a world-wide campaign to educate chefs and catering students on the use of the varieties of cress and microgreens as healthy ingredients in innovative and progressive menus.

John and Andy will join The Chefs’ Forum once more on the 20th November at East Kent College when they will mentor the students in cooking a four course Chefs’ Lunch for their peers to raise money for The Chefs’ Forum Educational Foundation.  Any chefs or suppliers wishing to attend should contact

Photography: Fleur Challis