Sharp Skills and Forest Floor at City of Bristol College

It was time for Bristol’s top chefs to go back to college at the latest meeting of The Chefs’ Forum yesterday (October 12).

Hosted at the City of Bristol College’s City Restaurant, the chefs got the chance to network with some of the region’s top suppliers while seeing some of the college’s excellent facilities and showcasing its students to local employers.

The event began as usual with a Nyetimber and canapé reception, with the canapés prepared by Andrew Clatworthy from The Rummer Hotel with the help of students from the City of Bristol College.

Andrew said: “My apprentice, James Mercer is also a student here at City of Bristol College and I thought it would be great to bring him here today so he can show the students what he has learned in the kitchen.

“It is all about inspiring young people with food, not fear. The bully mentality is gone now.

“There’s no point in shouting at someone for not knowing how to do something. You have to show them.

“The generation before us ruined a generation of chefs with all the shouting and bullying so it’s up to us to pick up the pieces and inspire people.

“This is a hard industry – you never get to see your friends and family, and you never have any money – but it’s also an amazing industry.”

Joanne Van from City of Bristol College added: “There is a shortage of talented young chefs in the city at the moment, and our challenge is to look at how we can recruit and train these young chefs for the future.”

Andy Clatworthy Forest Floor demo MEDIAForest Floor Plated MEDIAAfter the reception Andrew demonstrated his signature dish, Forest Floor, an innovative version of mushrooms on toast which was inspired by a walk in the forest.

He said: “This dish changes to reflect not just the seasons, but the weather, so it is different every day.

“We go out and pick the herbs fresh every morning. In the winter it is garnished with truffle powder which represents the frost, and in spring we add some flowers.

“It’s my artistic interpretation of mushrooms on toast.”

Paul O'Neill Knife Skills Demo MEDIAFollowing the demonstration former Roux scholar, Paul O’Neill from Berwick Lodge gave a demonstration of knife skills using Global knives, and then challenged students to take part in a knife skills challenge. The young chefs were tasked with preparing a carrot in julienne and paysanne style, and then debone a chicken.

City of Bristol Level 2 Students Knife Kilss comp MEDIAThe final winner, chosen by Paul, was Level 2 student, Daria Sikorska, who was rewarded with a fantastic set of Global 30th Anniversary knives and James Mercer, the runner-up who received Clifton Food Range sous vide tweezers and spoon.  Both prizes were kindly donated by Global Knives and Clifton Food Range who sponsor The Chefs’ Forum.

The event culminated in a hilarious Saturday Kitchen style omelette challenge on CookTek induction hobs where chefs showed their cracking skills to win some fabulous prizes.

Ash Haskins 'beating' Nick Webb in Omelette Challenge MEDIAChef Ash Haskins of Winford Manor reined victorious over three peers to win a Cooper Atkins temperature probe from MCS Technical Products.

Founder of The Chefs’ Forum Catherine Farinha said: “It was great to see so many people at the event. Every year we hold at least one college event in each of our eight areas to remind everyone what The Chefs’ Forum is all about.

“We want to inspire young chefs and give them the opportunity to meet and work alongside some very talented chefs, so it was great to hear Andrew talk about the nurturing culture that is starting to become more common in kitchens.”