Pasture to Plate & Pâtisserie in Powys

Over forty top chefs from across Wales gathered at NPTC Group of Colleges Newtown Campus, for and inspirational day and insight into the Catering, Hospitality and Agriculture Department.

Massimo Bishop-Scotti working with the studentsStudents from NPTC Group Newtown Campus worked with Hefin Roberts (Head Chef at Ye Olde Bulls Head Inn and Master Patissier, Massimo Bishop-Scotti (Zucchero Patisserie) Cardiff in their College Kitchen to prepare and serve spectacular canapés for a tough audience of culinary experts and industry people at the Colleges Themes Restaurant.

NPTC is the ONLY College in Wales and possibly the UK where the catering and agriculture curriculum sit in the same school, thus allowing the whole food chain from conception to consumption to be fully integrated.

Mandy Carter, Senior Lecturer at NPTC Group Newtown Campus said: “It is really important for our students to work with local chefs. I was first introduced to The Chefs’ Forum by Nick Brodie, Head Chef at Llangoed Hall and I then arranged for our students to work at the highly successful launch event there last March. Since then, our students have worked very closely with Nick, one of our Level 3’s has secured a full time job there. Nick even staged ‘An evening with Nick Brodie’ here at the College. It is also great to welcome Hefin and Massimo here to work with our students today.”

Canapes by Hefin Roberts and the studentsThe event commenced with a terrific canapé and Nyetimber English sparkling wine reception where students created and served bite-sized delights led by Hefin Roberts and Massimo Bishop-Scotti. The chefs and students then enjoyed cookery demonstrations by both.

Lecturer Shaun Bailey performed a lamb butchery demonstration to the students and chefs.

Students cooking lamb patties with Bart Repertoire spicesThe students then entered a lamb patty-making competition won by Alice Yeoman, who received a Bart Repertoire spice hamper and signed copy of Vanilla Black kindly donated by the author, top London chef Andrew Dargue.

The NPTC Group is fortunate to have a strong team of lecturing staff that work to their strengths from Barista sills to Butchery – thus ensuring the best tutoring for the students.

Catering students learn to grade livestock at the College farm – sheep and beef and then follow the animals to the abattoir, the meat then returns to the kitchen. Kevin Jones, a local butcher and chef lecturers butcher the carcases and learn to ‘value-add’ or optimise monetary yield from the carcass in the college restaurant. Similarly, agriculture students have the opportunity to come to the kitchen to look at the confirmation of the carcass with the butcher to ensure their breeding the right grade of animal for the table.

Sue Lloyd-Jones, Head of School catering, hospitality and agriculture across the NPTC Group said:
“We are delighted to welcome The Chefs’ Forum along to NPTC Newtown Campus. It’s a great opportunity for the chefs to see how they could and should utilise local produce and how we are instilling this knowledge into our learners, the chefs and employees of the future.
Sue continued.
“Working today’s Chefs’ Forum event gives our students industry event experience alongside the chance to network with some of the best chefs in Wales whilst adding to their personal VRQ/NVQ Levels 1-3 portfolio and enhances their employability skills.”

Neil Bowden gives a tour of Fronlas FarmCalves at Fronlas FarmNeil Bowden, agriculture lecturer gave the visiting chefs a tour of the college farm, he concluded:
“It is great to show Chefs’ Forum members around Fronlas farm to see production methods at first hand and have the opportunity to understand the need and the importance of the role the farm plays in pasture to plate education and insuring the right meat reaches the table.”

Having launched four years ago in Bristol, popular demand meant that this well-renowned catering industry organisation launched in Wales last March. The Chefs’ Forum cross-pollinates the hospitality industry enabling chefs to talk to local suppliers, equipment manufacturers and catering colleges whilst creating employment opportunities for students. Chefs, suppliers or colleges interested in joining The Chefs’ Forum and attending events should contact Catherine Farinha on 07585 700030.

Ingredients for the canapés and demos were donated by Chefs’ Forum sponsors Total Produce and the lamb was supplied by Kevin Jones and Fronlas Farm. Chefs’ Forum events are dependent on this much-valued support to stage events for the good of the industry.

Photography by Pamela Morgan.