Perfect Pastry & Asian Culinary Excellence on Display at Coleg Gwent

The Chefs’ Forum put on a display of pastry perfection at a taster day for school students at Coleg Gwent this week. 200 school students watched on as Thibault Courtosier of Patisserie Verte, who won Bake Off The Professionals in 2020, put on a masterclass.

However, he was joined by another award-winning chef Jubz al Manna of Grubz by Jubz, who gave an interactive cookery demo. Mocktails made by Mixologist Drew Patley and an interactive cocktail competition completed the ensemble and all the students went home happy.

Thibault said:

“I love events like this and getting young people talking about food and where it comes from.  Honey from Dean Magna School really impressed me with her skills in making our vegan Valrhona Amatika chocolate and Sosa passionfruit crispy Tartlette. We had Alex Saunders from Valrhona here today, telling the schoolchildren and students all about where the top tier chocolate comes from; From bean to bag, we also watched a fantastic film on the whole journey.  I think the industry needs more events like this and I am really happy to be both teaching at Coleg Gwent in The Chefs’ Forum Academy and participating in the Taster Day today.”

Thibault has invited the patisserie students to come and visit Patisserie Verte HQ in Cardiff for an enrichment visit and the college will make arrangements for this in the near future.  He was also very impressed with the CookTek Helios induction hobs from Chefs’ Forum sponsor, MCS Technical Products, where precision and market-leading power come as standard – Exactly what top pastry chefs demand.

Dole Foodservice and Valrhona kindly provided fresh produce and delicious chocolate for the students to create canapés for the young guests, as well as ingredients for the demonstrations.

Our break-dancing chef, Kit Sells was also on hand to give a body-popping masterclass to some of the schoolchildren and their teachers, this was very entertaining indeed and made for an electric and upbeat atmosphere in the room.

Catherine Farinha, Director of The Chefs’ Forum, said afterwards:

“Our position as the leading chef platform dedicated to education enables us to bring in heavyweight industry professionals across the UK. We are about to embark on our third book – The Pastry Chefs’ Knowledge –  and Thibault showed why pastry is so important as part of the chef curriculum. However, he was ably supported today by an outstanding deconstructed Bengali Seabass Curry demo from Jubz al Manna who really captivated the students.”

The schoolchildren were really impressed and engaged with Jubz’ curry and asked lots lots of questions and year 9 student, McKenzie Camp from Caldicot School assisted with the demo.  He did such a good job that Jubz awarded him ‘Star of the Day’ and a copy of The Chefs’ Knowledge book.

Helen Lawless, Head of School for Hospitality at Coleg Gwent said: “The Chefs’ Forum really pulled out the stops for us today and it was easy to see how inspired the student visitors were. These taster days are so important for showing school students what they can expect on a catering course at Coleg Gwent.”

The visiting schoolchildren from five local feeder schools had a great time at the event, year 9 student Honey Griffiths from Dean Magna school said:

“I didn’t really know what to expect today, but I have really enjoyed all of the cooking, dancing and live competitions.  I’m now really thinking about coming to Coleg Gwent for the next stage in my educational journey and cooking really appeals, it was amazing to discover so many new ingredients and meet such inspirational chefs.  Thibault has offered me work experience at Patisserie Verte and I will definitely take him up on it – I really enjoyed making the chocolate tartlettes on stage with him, and have discovered that I’m a dab-hand with a piping bag!”

Bedwas School in Caerphilly was also very impressed by the day, a spokesperson said:

“We look forward to this annual foodie event every year, we have attended for the past three years and have it firmly in our diary going forward.  It’s so lovely for the students to have enjoyed such an immersive and interactive event.  You could see from the smiles on their faces how much they loved the event and their feedback has been amazing – Thank you to Coleg Gwent and The Chefs’ Forum for a hugely inspirational day!”

Film and photography by Carlos Farinha.