The Chefs’ Forum Supports a Celebration of Student Achievement

Three students received the accolade of “Student of the Year” at The Institute of Hospitality – Southern Branch’s Student Awards Gala Evening at the exclusive Lainston House Hotel, near Winchester Tuesday (2) May.  Over ninety people attended the event, which was hosted by the celebrity chef, Steven Edwards, and featured the top college students from Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire who competed for prizes in the Chef, Pastry Chef and Front of House categories.

Winner ReeganThe Chefs’ Forum Award for Chef Student of the Year went to Reegan Graff from Kingston Maurward College.  The impressive trophy was designed and made by Clifton Food Range, the market-leading sous vide water bath supplier and presented by Catherine Farinha, Founder of The Chefs’ Forum.

Catherine said:

“The Chefs’ Forum wholeheartedly supports the IoH Awards.  It was so lovely to speak to all of the finalists and their proud families.  Whilst I was delighted to present the award to Reegan, I would like to congratulate all the young people participating in the competition and congratulate them on being nominated by their lecturers – A fantastic achievement and a great sign for the next generation of hospitality professionals”.

Winner JessicaThe Yate Supplies Pastry Chef Student of the Year was won by Jessica Edwards from Bournemouth & Poole College – Her grandad was delighted that she had been nominated, yet alone winning her category.

The AA Front of House Student of the Year was Carmen Darmanin from Eastleigh College, again a fantastic achievement and a milestone in her career as a hospitality professional.Carmen Winner

The evening included a sumptuous three course meal prepared by Head Chef Olly Rouse and his team at Lainston House, using meat provided by the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB) and Walter Rose butchers, organic fruit and vegetables from Sunnyfields and wine from Nyetimber and Bancroft.   Further sponsorship was received from the Institute of Hospitality and Halton Foodservice.

Tom Goss, from the IoH Southern Branch said:

“The competition was very close; the judges had a very difficult time choosing the winners.  It was a spectacular evening – there was a real buzz going around the room the whole night; and when the winners were announced it was electrifying.  We are thrilled with the high level of support that we have received from the industry and the colleges”.

In addition to Kingston Maurward College, Dorchester, Bournemouth & Poole College and Eastleigh College, entrants came from Brockenhurst College, Highbury College, South Downs College and Basingstoke College of Technology.

Westcountry Cookbook to launch this Summer

Talented photographer David Griffen has worked tirelessly over the last year to produce a stunning cook book that celebrates not only the South West’s top Chefs, but also the incredible produce we have right here on our doorstep.

Whether because the region’s food scene has, on occasion, been dismissed as provincial, pasties or simply Padstow, or because of its geographical isolation, there’s a special camaraderie amongst the community of cooks in the South West. This book is testament to this collective spirit.

The New West Country Cook Book is a showcase: not of the top names in the business, although it has them; not of expensive or extraordinary ingredients – as the South West can grow, rear or catch them all; but, more, a celebration of the simple beauty and fantastic taste of the best ingredients artfully combined.

With over 250 pages of beautiful photography by David Griffen, this book will make a great present for any Chef or foodie.

  • Hardcover
  • 320 Pages
  • £20 RRP
  • Independently Published
  • ISBN 978-0-9576238-0-4

Click here to pre-order your copy now for only £20.00 (+ £3.95 p&p to UK) Worldwide shipping available.
You will receive your book when we begin shipping in the Summer of 2013!

For more information about David’s beautiful photography click here.

Ed Tatton – Berwick Lodge

From a very early age I have been eager to perfect and build upon my existing culinary skills. At thirteen, my first employment had me peeling and preparing seafood in a beach front restaurant near to my home town of Herne Bay. At sixteen, I attended Thanet catering college and by nineteen, I was fortunate to be taken on at an established Michelin star restaurant, being given invaluable advice and gaining considerable experience . I’ve worked extremely hard to become Head chef at Berwick Lodge but it is incredibly rewarding.
I cook fine dining food and have taken it upon myself to grow and nurture fruit, herbs and vegetables in the grounds of the Lodge, specifically in the poly tunnel. It is highly important to source our produce both locally and as ethically as possible.

Vegetarian cookery competition

Bath’s Demuths Restaurant and The Vegetarian Cookery School have announced the second year of their search for talented young chefs with a flair for vegetarian cooking. The competition is open to anyone aged between 11 and 16, and will be judged in two age groups: 11-13 and 14-16.

The first stage is to write a recipe for a delicious and imaginative main course dish that’s seasonal, creative, and meat and fish-free. Deadline for applications is 1 September 2012.

The best three recipes, in each age group, will be judged by the Vegetarian Cookery School, with the chosen chefs invited to spend a day at the cookery school on 30 October 2012.

During the day, entrants will create their meals and complete an ingredient recognition quiz. The finalist’s dishes will be judged by a panel of local food experts for their creativity, flavour, use of ingredients, and cookery skills.

To apply visit:

Chefs ‘Pick it, Cook it, Eat it’ at Community Farm

Glorious sunshine glistening on Chew valley lake provided a stunning backdrop for the fourth Chefs’ Forum event on Monday the 20th August, held in a tipi on The Community Farm at Chew Magna. The cream of Bristol and Bath’s top chefs and catering students gathered alongside local producers and suppliers for a meeting of minds, knowledge swap and ‘Pick it, Cook it, Eat it chefs’ challenge’ led by Josh Eggleton and Toby Gritten.

Guests were welcomed by Chefs’ Forum Founder Committee member Josh Eggleton of the Michelin starred Pony and Trap (a field away), then handed over to passionate Farm Manager Andy Dibben, who, after an introduction to the farm proceeded to lead Forum Member Chefs on a tour of his crops. Foraging expert Toby Gritten (The Pumphouse) also show-cased the hidden bounty  nature has to offer growing in and amongst the cultivated fruit and vegetables!

The attending chefs were then challenged by Josh to create a dish using gathered and foraged produce to accompany the freshly cut steak BBQ provided by local butcher Nigel Buxton following his steak butchery demonstration.

Pick it, Cook it, Eat it from The Chefs’ Forum on Vimeo.

The Chefs’ Forum launched in January 2012 and has since expanded to include highly accredited  chefs, catering colleges and top suppliers on a South West regional level.

Catherine Farinha, Founder Committee Member of The Chefs’ Forum and event organiser stated:

We are so lucky to have such a naturally beautiful venue like on our doorstep.  The Chefs, most of whom were on their only day off, relished the opportunity to meet with their peers, network and find out about the provenance of the fantastic vegetables available from this unique growing  project at The Community Farm.  It is also important to educate chefs as to the detrimental effect adverse weather conditions can have on the annual harvest –  this year has been the worst since its inception.

Andy Dibben added:

‘It would be like you chefs collapsing a soufflé, then inviting everybody in to come and see it.  That’s how I feel about showing you around the farm today but I also hope to show you how good it could be given the right conditions – It’s important to learn about the good as well as the bad in terms of growing’.

The Community Farm grow organic vegetables on 22 acres of land in the Chew Valley just south of Bristol. From here, it operates a vegetable box delivery scheme, as well as providing wholesale supplies to local eateries.   Open days as also on offer as well as courses and volunteering opportunities to promote knowledge and understanding of sustainable farming and food provenance.

Alison Belshaw, Community Farm Project Director commented:

“The Community Farm was delighted to welcome the chefs – it brought a real buzz to the Farm. Our farm manager, Andy Dibben, gave them a tour – and let them know how tough this year had been for growers because of the weather. We’re now looking at adding a ‘Chef’s Box’ to our range of vegetable boxes so that restaurants can order the freshest and best in seasonal organic veg direct from us and we hope to supply some of the Chefs’ Forum members – many expressed a real interest in buying from us.”

Suitable footwear for the occasion was provided by event sponsor Hunter Boots, and a talk on responsible shooting by Chef James Graham of Allium restaurant, Fairford, further enhanced the rural tone.

The Chefs’ Forum is sponsored by some great brands including Bristol Audi, Champagne Taittinger and Total Produce.  Our partners include fabulous local companies like Lovely Drinks, Bramley & Gage, Clifton Food Range and A.David.

New Forum Member Gary Gardener, Head Chef at Combe Grove Manor, Bath said of The Chefs’ Forum:

‘This fantastic movement has been a long time coming  and opening up communication channels is something really positive for the industry’.

The Chef’s Forum is a group of 150 chefs in the South West, all recognised in their industry, with awards including Michelin Stars and AA Rosettes. Led by Catherine Farinha , Josh Eggleton and Chris Wicks and Adrian Kirikmaa of City of Bristol College.

Members present at the well- attended the event at the farm included Sam Moody of the Bath Priory, the chefs from The Ethicurian, and The Star and Dove team, who have recently added the Totterdown Shakespeare to their portfolio.

Grand Chefs Dinner 2012

Grand Chefs’ Dinner 2012 from The Chefs’ Forum on Vimeo.

Lovely Drinks celebrate golden award

It’s not only athletes that win gold!  Lovely Drinks based in Barrow Gurney, North Somerset has been awarded Great Taste Award gold stars for the fourth consecutive year. Elderflower Pressé, Apple & Gooseberry and Elderflower & Rose flavours have been officially recognised as some of the finest soft drinks around.

Lovely Drinks is a traditional family business run by Rick Freeman and Victoria Earle. Drinks contain some organic ingredients but quality, freshness and locally sourced ingredients are the backbone of the brand.

Elderflower Pressé was awarded two stars and was described by judges as “first rate” with “a champagne appearance” and “beautiful flowery aroma”.

Rick Freeman said “We’re particularly proud of the judges comments for Elderflower Pressé. Who’d have thought that something that started out in our garden shed just a few years ago would be what it is today? It’s so rewarding to know that every ‘Lovely drink’ out there has been made, bottled, labelled and usually hand delivered by us.

We couldn’t have done it without the huge support we’ve received along the way from family, friends and customers alike.  We’d like to think that all of our drinks could achieve award-winning status one day and look forward to making that dream a reality in years to come.”

Where possible ingredients for Lovely Drinks are sourced within Bristol or Somerset and local suppliers are used for almost all business needs. The drinks contain as little sugar as possible and all are free from preservatives, concentrates and artificial flavourings.

Lovely Drinks can be found at top delectable delis such as Chandos Deli, fabulous cafes such as Spicer and Cole, and top restaurants like The Pony and Trap. They are priced around £1.95 per bottle.

The three drink varieties will now be stamped with the highly regarded Great Taste seal of approval.

For more information visit


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