Sushi, Students and Sugar Work Stole the Show at The Chefs’ Forum in Birmingham!


Monday (9) October saw high profile hospitality professionals and young chefs gather at Rofuto Japanese Sushi Restaurant at the top of Park Regis Hotel in Birmingham’s bustling city centre.  This was the highest Chefs’ Forum ever to have taken place on the 16th floor with a 360-degree skyline view of Birmingham and beyond.

Tony with UCB StudentSushi MasterclassYoung chefs from University College Birmingham (UCB) joined forces with learners from HIT Training to produce some excellent canapés, showcasing the Rofuto menu as well as taking part in a sushi masterclass delivered by Japanese Sushi Chef Antonio (Tony) de Garcia. Level one UCB students did a fantastic job of working front of house and serving the canapés.

Sushi CanapeCanapesThe Chefs’ Forum launched its Birmingham chapter last February at UCB and it was fantastic to welcome its students to Rofuto for a day of employer engagement, networking and new skill acquisition.

Neil Rippington, Dean of the College of Food at UCB joined Chefs’ Forum Founder Catherine Farinha in welcoming the guests to the prestigious hospitality industry event.

Neil 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 third Chefs’ Forum event to take place in Birmingham and it is a stunning venue in which to hold the meeting.  I look forward to welcoming The Chefs’ Forum back to UCB as we stage a further Chefs’ Lunch in early 2018.”

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 Tom’s Kitchen, Harvey Nichols and Park Regis Hotel offer the young participants the chance to apply for various vacancies, inviting them to drop their CVs into the various high-profile venues.

Rory HIT Chef Academy demoRegional Chef Academy leads from National Chefs’ Forum Sponsor, HIT Training performed a compelling patisserie demo, enlisting the help of two potential learners from the audience.  The young chefs were invited to try their hand at ‘sugar spinning’ and cream piping for the first time in front of a room full of their peers from UCB and professional chefs as they created a Gateau St Honoré.

Ian Williams, Regional Chef Academy Lead very much enjoyed participating in the day, he said

“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.”

Santa Maria Spice TalkThe very best suppliers to industry also attend Chefs’ Forum events and showcase their tried and tested products and services.  Santa Maria showcased its pepper and spices and Clifton Coffee invited industry professionals and students to take part in Coffee Cupping, which proved a real hit!

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

“We 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. Adrian Enescu and Tony 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 year.  I am delighted that young people are securing employment opportunities on the back of our events.”

Tony with Pro chefsAnother highlight of the day included a student’s sushi-making demo by Tony with the help of Mark Walsh (Harvey Nichols) and Jean Michel Dupin (Cherington Arms) as well as sushi- rolling competition won by UCB level 3 student Tom Rix (18). Led by Antonio, Tom beat three peers to win himself a day in the kitchen with Rofuto’s Sushi Chef.

Tom Rix winner of sushi compTom 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 Antonio.”

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