Patisserie, Picanha and Pistols at Lainston House

Top chefs from across Hampshire were gunning for success at the latest meeting of The Chefs’ Forum.

The event, held on Monday 5th March, at Lainston House near Winchester saw some of the county’s greatest culinary talents coming together with high-end suppliers and hospitality and catering students from The Exclusive Chefs’ Academy, Highbury College and Basingstoke College for an afternoon of networking, demonstrations, delicious food and even some laser clay pigeon shooting.

Nicolas and Baskingstoke College StudentsIt is the third time that The Chefs’ Forum has returned to this stunning venue as it lands itself perfectly to such an event with its state of the art cookery school and world-class chef training academy.

Students from Highbury College and Basingstoke college were invited to come for an assessment day to try out for the Exclusive Chefs’ Academy on Friday 16th March, further dates will be published the following month.

Executive Chef for Exclusive Hotels and Venues Chefs’ Academy, Andrew Mackenzie said

“It was great to showcase our Academy to potential students for the new intake this year.  Many visitiChime front of house 2ng students from Highbury and Basingstoke Colleges seemed very keen to know how it all works.  It would be great to see some of them attend our forthcoming assessment day as a result of The Chefs’ Forum event today – They looked like they really enjoyed themselves and did an excellent job of preparing canapés with our existing Academy students.

The event kicked-off with a canapé and fizz reception – the food prepared by Executive Chef Andrew Birch, ExclusivFront of house wine openinge Chefs’ Academy and the students from the visiting colleges.

Ingredients for the canapés and demos were kindly donated by Chefs’ Forum Sponsors Walter Rose & Son, Koppert Cress, Country Fare and Santa Maria.

Andrew said: “All the students performed fantastically well and should be very proud of what they produced. It was great to have young people from so many different institutions joining our students at the Exclusive Chefs’ Academy to share what they have learnt.”

DemoAndrew then created a fantastic quail dish with Exclusive Chefs’ Academy student Greg Evans confidently assisting throughout the demo.

This was followed by a stunning patisserie demonstration by pastry chef Nicolas Bouhelier.

Next it was time for some delicious Walter Rose picanha, award-winning sausages and burgers cooked to perfection on the Synergy Grill and outdoor cooking arsenal by Living Outside.

Dorset Sea SaltSynergy GrillThe guests also had the chance to sample award-winning Dorset Sea Salt from the neighbouring county – A fine way to season the delicious grilled delights, hand-harvested by young entrepreneur Jethro Tennant, the latest sponsor to join The Chefs’ Forum.

The chefs really enjoyed the feast laid on for them and there was an abundance of positive feedback on the day by professional chefs and students alike.

Everyone then had a shot at winning a prize with a laser-clay pigeon shooting session in the stunning grounds of Lainston House.

Founder of The Chefs’ Forum Catherine Farinha said: “The Chefs’ Forum is all about making connections and sharing knowledgeChimes Front of house and this event really highlighted this. Not only did chefs have the chance to meet some fantastic suppliers, and students have the chance to see Lainston’s wonderful chefs in action, but perhaps most importantly, students from many different learning centres had the chance to come together and share their knowledge with each other and network with employers.

These young people are the future of this industry and if today’s event is an indication of what is to come then I think we can all be confident that the industry has a very bright future.

“I would like to thank everyone for coming today and especially our sponsors without whom these events would not be possible.”

Photography by