Sugar, Spice & All Things Nice at Swinfen Hall

Swinfen Hall Hotel in Lichfield, Staffordshire is a magnificent Georgian manor set in one hundred acres of park land incorporating formal gardens, a kitchen garden, a private deer park, livestock, wild hay meadows and woodland – A beautiful location to spend a sunny Monday in April!

Head Chef Bruce Cheyne was the perfect host and gave students from University College BirmingStudents prepping canapesham and temporary workers from online part-time work app Syft a great day’s work experience in his kitchen.

The event started with a networking session where canapés and Iconic Gin and tonic was served as a welcome drink.  Bruce’s canapés were very well-received by the guests and comprised:

All ingredients for the canapés were kindly supplied by Chefs’ Forum Sponsors Ritter Courivaud, Oliver Kay, Walter Rose & Son and Koppert Cress.

Bruce prepping canapesChefs’ Forum Founder Catherine Farinha gave the welcome speech and introduced the UCB Masters Degree students and ‘Syfters’ to the employers who attended.  It was great to see these young people put themselves forward to work the event as it was the Easter holiday and they didn’t have to be there – A great sign for the next generation of chefs and front of house professionals!

Michal from Santa MariaMichal Nowak then took to the stage to showcase Santa Maria herbs and spices, talking the chefs through the benefits of sourcing top quality pepper, herbs and spices and their provenance.  Santa Maria juniper berries were handed around the audience and then Iconic Gin linked perfectly to the delicious ingredient that legally must make up at least 40% of botanicals used in gin distillery.

Koppert Blossom in the Iconic GinThe Iconic signature serve was finished with a Jasmine flower from Koppert Cress, served in Artis Coupes – what a great start to the event?!

Dressed in a very smart Bragard Gorgio Jacket, Bruce then took to the demo stage, supported by UCB Student Garima Podder as Commis and produced a fabulous demo of white Chocolate delice, pineapple sorbet and a malted milk foam.  Bruce talked the audience through is journey as a chef which has taken him from SBruce demoouth Africa, to New York, to London with Tom Aikens and now The Midlands.

The students and Syft temps or ‘Syfters’ also assembled delicious afternoon tea canapés to showcase what Swinfen hall is famed for and Bruce’s patisserie skills were greatly appreciated:

Next-up was a brilliant laser-clEthan Winner of Clazeray shooting session in which Bruce’s Sous Chef Ethan Mills fended-off all of the competition to win a medal for the highest score and a bottle of Iconic Gin!

The day finished off with a fantastic tour of the impressive kitchen garden and newly-restored greenhouse by head groundsman Scott Gardner, where a fantastic array of produce from grapes, flowers, cucumbers, herbs and tomatoes are grown to supply Bruce’s kitchen and the wider estate.

Garden tourAs a result of yesterday’s event Garima has applied to Chef Bruce for some work in her holiday as she greatly enjoyed the day and we will follow her progress with him.

The Chefs’ Forum is proud to stage four events in Birmingham and Midlands a year and all chefs or suppliers wishing to get involved should contact

Photography by