Sushi, Sake, Spice and All Things Nice at The Chefs’ Forum in London!

Monday (29) January saw high profile hospitality professionals and young chefs gather at Ricker Restaurants’ second of four sites, Eight Over Eight on the famous King’s Road, Chelsea.  The Pan-Asian restaurant proved the perfect venue to host this prestigious event showcasing world food to the next generation.

Canape 3 Young chefs from West London’s College joined forces with learners from HIT Training to produce some excellent canapés, showcasing the Eight Over Eight menu as well as taking part in a sushi masterclass delivered by Executive Chef Aaj Fernando and Head Chef Jose Caetano. Level one students did a fantastic job of working front of house and serving the canapés.

Canape 1Aaj said

“As Executive Chef I am all about encouraging young people to see this industry as a career choice and hosting today’s event allows me to do just that.  I have been very impressed with the students from West London’s College and HIT Training today. Based on their performance today, I would be delighted to invite them for work experience and trial shifts across the four sites of the Ricker Restaurants Group.”

The Chefs’ Forum launched its London chapter in 2014 and has since staged twenty industry events in the capital both in quarterly Chefs’ Forum events and showcasing The Chefs’ Forum demo stage at Canape 2the London Produce Show for last four years. It was fantastic to welcome catering and hospitality students to Eight Over Eight for a day of employer engagement, networking and new skill acquisition.

Denise Charles, Head of Hospitality at West London’s College joined Bernadette Charters from HIT Training and Chefs’ Forum Founder Catherine Farinha in welcoming the guests to the prestigious hospitality industry event.

Denise said:

“I am extremely proud of my students today – It’s great to see them networking with employers and receiving offers of trial shifts and learning the art of sushi.  This is the fifth Chefs’ Forum event at which my students have helped out and it is a lovely venue in which to hold the meeting. L-R Denise, Aaj, Catherine and Bernadette

Bernadette added

HIT Training works with The Chefs’ Forum on a national level to promote work-based learning to employers both via apprenticeships and the HIT Chefs Academy.  It is great for our learners to work with Aaj and the team and network with their peers from other colleges. Today has been about learning new skills and enjoying different culinary experiences for HIT Training staff and learners alike.  Continual professional development is a big part of what we do at HIT to ensure we are keeping up with the latest industry trends and techniques.  It was great to show employers what we do to train and inspire young chefs.”

The Chefs’ Forum is all about bridging the gap between education and industry and giving young hospitality professionals the chance to engage with employers and secure work experience and training opportunities.  Yesterday’s event saw guests from Hakkasan, Royal Lancaster London, Sketch Restaurant, Zuma Restaurants and many more offer the young participants the chance to apply for various vacancies, inviting them to drop their CVs into the various high-profile venues.

The very best suppliers to industry also attend Chefs’ Forum events and showcase their tried and tested products and services.  Santa Maria showcased its market-leading spice and herb range and Clifton Coffee invited industry professionals and students to take part in Coffee tasting, which proved a real hit!  World-leading micro cress producer Koppert Cress also gave a mini ‘Cressperience’ promoting cresses and micro greens as ingredients instead of a garnish.  The visiting chefs loved experimenting with new flavours and species of cress!

Chefs’ Forum Founder Catherine Farinha organises thirty-six Chefs’ Forum events every year across nine areas.  She said:

“When young people come up to me of their own volition and thank me for letting them take part in Chefs’ Forum events, it makes my job so worthwhile. Aaj and Jose did a great job of working with the students and performing brilliant demos today. A great deal of work goes on behind the scenes to make these events happen on an almost weekly basis throughout the yGewyn winner of sushi compear.  I am delighted that young people are securing employment opportunities on the back of our events.”

Another highlight of the day included a student’s sushi-making demo by Aaj as well as sushi-rolling competition won by Gewyn Pelegrino (19). Led by Aaj, Gewyn beat three peers to win himself a day in the kitchen with Aaj and Jose.

Gewyn said

“I have never really eaten sushi before and never learned how to make it at college, but today has completely changed my mind about it.  I really like making and eating sushi and am very much looking forward to coming back here for my day in the kitchen with Aaj.”

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