Salcombe Gin and Glorious Gastronomy Enjoyed by Devon Chefs at Thurlestone Hotel

Brilliant sunshine kissed the stunning Thurlestone Hotel on Monday September (18). Top chefs from Devon and beyond gathered at the upmarket venue for a day of culinary celebration and networking.

The Chefs’ Forum holds four events per year in Devon and it was fantastic to see so many loyal supporters from across the county and beyond!Canapes

Executive Chef Hugh Miller welcomed students from South Devon College into his kitchen at the award-winning Trevilder Restaurant at the hotel, to cook and serve canapés from his menu with ingredients supplied by Two Brothers Foods, Total Produce, Dart Fresh Produce, Koppert Cress, Mevalco and Clifton Coffee.

Hugh said:

“From my experience, you don’t know what to expect from students when they arrive in the kitchen. Today however showed me that the South Devon College students were more than capable of rising to the challenge. Once I showed them what to do, they created and served the canapés with very little intervention from me.  I am delighted with their attitude and results produced.”

Adam Willcocks

Food and Beverage Manger Adam Willcocks expertly organised the front of house students taking him back to when he attended a Chefs’ Forum Autumn Lunch at The Bath Priory, way back in 2012, as a reward for excellent performance on his course whilst studying at City College Plymouth – It is great seeing former hospitality students making their way into industry and now hosting an event of their own.Andy's Demo Dish

Senior Sous Chef Andy Hunt opened the show with a fabulous demo of Creedy Carver duck breast with rhubarb gel and poached rhubarb and apple. He announced that it has been on the menu for the third time as a firm favourite in the eleven years he has worked at the hotel. Today’s event was a great opportunity to test it on his chef peers.  Andy explained to the students that a career as a chef can take you around the world and enable you to learn new languages and see new countries as he did.

Gavin Sausage Making with StudentNext up, was Gavin Roberts of Two Brothers Foods who gave an impressive butchery master class, this time, boning out a pork fore.  He showed the chefs how to achieve tasty cuts with zero wastage as a sausage-making demo followed.  Two level two students, Liam Hope-Brown and Tom O’Donoghue from South Devon College rose to the challenge of live sausage making in front of a tough audience of professional chefs, their peers and their lecturers – they did brilliantly and took the sausages made home as a souvenir!

Gavin said:

Gavin Sausage Making“We as an industry need to recognise, that there you can use all of the animal and as my grandfather used to say ‘from hooter to tooter’ or nose to tail as its more commonly referred to these days! It was great to introduce the students to ‘Matilda’ my sausage-making machine given to me by my grandmother and the humble beginning of the Kernow Sausage brand eleven years ago.  For the first two years – all of our sausages were made by hand using this very machine.

Not only are we morally obligated to use more of the beast having taken its life, but in not embracing these lesser known cheaper cuts we are truly missing out on deliciously different gastro adventures with strong USP & robbing ourselves of some absolute GP% legends. Hopefully all of the chefs will have a go at making their own gourmet sausages and we at Kernow Sausage Co are always on hand to custom-make any specific recipes!”

Jordan Jamon CuttingBrothers Carlos and Javier Martiniega of Martinieaga Olive Oil introduced their family business producing the finest Spanish Olive Oil. Mevalco showcased this and a whole range of other Spanish delicacies available from the Bristol-based supplier including a delicious jamon on an authentic stand which was carved live by Thurlestone chef Jordan Bartholomew.

Next, Tom Litten of Salcombe Gin then took the floor to give a tasting of his delicious handcrafted gin, distilled with thirteen carefully selected botanicals.

Claire on the Synergy GrillClaire Mansfield of Synergy Grill cooked up a feast of Kernow Sausage Haute Dogs before the chefs embarked on a game of golf on the Thurlestone Hotel Golf Course.

A great day was had by all and the event was extremely well-received by all who attended.

The Chefs’ Forum will hold its next Devon event at The Deer Park Hotel on the 17th September.  Anyone wishing to secure their place, please contact

Photography by