Masterchef: The Professionals Winner Invites Brighton Chefs to Etch.

The Chefs’ Forum was delighted to stage a Chefs’ Forum event at Steven’s first permanent restaurant in a former bank in Hove. Etch. has been getting rave reviews since it opened in 2017. Now, Masterchef: The Professionals Winner is now heading to London, taking on the Bingham Riverhouse in Richmond.

Due to open early next month, his new project will depart from the tasting menus available at etch and will offer a full a la carte menu with some exciting new dishes.

The Chefs’ Forum has worked wiEast Sussex College studentsth Steven on various occasions, both in hosting Chefs’ Forum events  and at the Institute of Hospitality Southern Branch Awards.  It is great to have seen Etch evolve from a pop-up restaurant to bricks and mortar in Hove and now and exciting new partnership with the Bingham Riverhouse in London.

It was fantastic to welcome learners from East Sussex College to Etch. to work with Steven and his team in the kitchen to produce and serve canapès to the chefs who attended.

Catherine Farinha, Founder at The Chefs’ Forum statedCanapes

“Steven is a great role model for young chefs, as well as his peers.  He has always entered competitions to build has profile and get his name out there and encourages young chefs to do the same, which is very solid advice. We really appreciate Steven working with The Chefs’ Forum and students from East Sussex College. We look forward to inviting Steven into the training kitchens at East Sussex College to teach at the college as part of the hugely successful national initiative, The Chefs’ Forum Academy.”

The event started with a fantastic cookery demo by Steven, incorporating fantastic produce from the suppliers exhibiting at the event.

Steven created a dish of Creedy Carver duck breast from Walter Rose and Son, award-winning Devizes-based butchers who will be supplying him at The Bingham.

Steven saidDemo dish

“I love to pair two delicious ingredients and feature the dish on the menu as those.  For example, this dish would be ‘Duck. Carrot’.  I can then get creative with the accompaniments.  In this case I’ve used Nutcellars Macadamia nuts and a delicious Foie Royale pate, the ethical alternative to foie gras.”

He continued

“I love to cook meat in its own juices and duck is best done a little under.  If we overcook a duck breast, then it is ruined. There’s no better flavour combination than pickled carrot, Foie Royale pate and toasted macadamia nuts.  It is great that we’re in a forum environment today and can discuss ingredients and cooking styles together as a group – It’s fantastic to open these lines of communication between chefs.”

As the demo continued, many interesting subjects affecting the professional lives of the cheJack Cookfs were discussed: Sustainability, reduction of plastics, seasonal ingredients and local sourcing.

Chefs’ Forum events are an excellent opportunity for chefs and suppliers to get together and discuss industry trends, whilst inspiring young chefs and forging links with local catering colleges.

Mike Logut from Foie Royale spoke of the provenance of the hugely popular Foie Royale and Jack Cook from Walter Rose & Son gave a beef butchery demo showcasing the showpiece picanha cut, spider steak, rump tail and single muscle steaks.  Steven then seasoned and seared the Stokes Marsh Farm beef to perfection for all the guest to sample.

MCB seafoods demoLenards of Covent Garden supplied all fresh produce and Chris from MCB Seafoods gave an excellent fish filleting demo, explaining that he’s supplied Steven ever since he was Head Chef at South Lodge at just twenty-five years old.

Following six years at South Lodge, Steven set up etch as a pop-up experience, cooking dinners at Oxfordshire’s Blenheim Palace, Nyetimber Vineyard (where The Chefs’ Forum staged an event with him) and The Corn Exchange in Leeds.

Following yesterday’s event, The Chefs’ Forum has received many offers to host further events in the Brighton and Sussex area.  This is an absolute certainty and the team very much look forward to future events promoting local chefs and forging links for them with East Sussex College.

To join the mailing list to keep up to date with the latest Chefs’ Forum events, please email

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Bake Off: The Professionals Star Supports Kent Chefs’ Forum Lunch

Top chefs, suppliers and hospitality students from North Kent College, gathered for a celebration of Autumnal Kentish food in the final Chefs’ Forum event of 2019.

The event took the format of an Autumn Chefs’ Lunch with five esteemed chefs from across Kent.

Students and chefsIn the kitchen with the students were Allister Barsby (Hide and Fox) on the starter, Craig Edgell (Buoy & Oyster) on the fish course, John Bingley & Andy Holden (The Cave Hotel) on the main course and Bobby Brown (Bank House) on dessert.

The menu was sublime, and all ingredients were kindly donated by Chefs’ Forum sponsors Walter Rose & Son and Koppert Cress, fish from The Buoy and Oyster and veg from Seasons by Nature.  This enabled The Chefs’ Forum Educational Foundation to raise vital funds amounting to well over £1200 to help young chefs and hospitality professionals coming into industry.

John Bingley and Andy HoldenA silent auction and raffle on the day bolstered money raised and guests were able to bid on the lots and prizes as Christmas presents which included a David Pipe race horse stable tour, afternoon tea at The Edgbaston Boutique Hotel, a meal at Hide and Fox with Allister Barsby and a meal for two at Bank House with Bobby Brown.

A special guest appearance was also made by TV chef Cherish Finden, International Pastry Consultant to support the chefs and students in her home county of Kent.  The students were rather star struck as she walked into their kitchen to greet her chef peers mentoring the young chefs on the day.

Bobby BrownWith such a galaxy of TV culinary stars in the college kitchen, there was a real buzz about the place and it was fantastic to see such a show of strength and support for the college.

The Chefs’ Forum bridges the gap between industry and education and by hosting the Kent Chefs’ Lunch in what is now the seventh year of The Chefs’ Forum. In hosting the lunch, North Kent College underlined its commitment to the initiative in inspiring young chefs, enriching their learning and forging strong links with leading employers within the industry.

John Bingley dishCodorníu Anna cava was served as a welcome drink as guests networked and spoke to top suppliers in a mini trade show. Cordoníu also sponsored the wines served with the lunch; White Vina Pomal Rioja Viura-Malvasia 2018 and Red Vina Pomal Rioja Reserva 2014 – A delicious accompaniment to the excellent dishes served by the guest chefs.

A welcome speech was made by Vice Principal of Gravesend Campus, Mark Andrews, and Chefs’ Forum Founder Catherine Farinha.  Mark spoke of the importance of the College and local employers working together to support this vital sector and thanked the guests for attending the Chefs’ Lunch.

Mark said

“It is fantastic to welcome so many local employers and renowned chefs here to our college today. Inspirational events and experiences such as today’s chefs’ lunch with The Chefs’ Forum are greatly worthwhile for our students and teaching staff alike.

“Employability, exposure to industry and work-readiness is a crucial eleBobby Brown dessertment that sits alongside traditional class-based studies at our College. Working hand in hand with industry partners who offer unrivalled, career focused work placements is an ongoing priority for us – and is something we are proud to offer to our students.

“For our students to be able to work alongside some of the most exciting and highly respected chefs in the county is an amazing opportunity and one that will truly inspire them to become the next generation of culinary creatives and hospitality professionals.”

Together, the chefs and studCraig Edgell announcing his dishents created and served a four-course meal for around fifty professionals from the catering industry who were all there to get in touch with the next generation of talent whilst catching up with their peers and suppliers.

Duncan Weetman, Chef Lecturer stated:Bobby Brown cooking on the Kamado Joe

“Today has been an amazing experience for our students.  They love to work with different chefs and learning new cooking techniques.  The food was superb, and it was a great opportunity to showcase our students’ professionalism and skills.  I would like to thank The Chefs’ Forum for making today a great success and inspiring our students.”

Catherine Farinha, Chefs’ Forum Founder added:

“We have been working with Duncan and North Kent College for two years now and the students never fail to impress with their enthusiastic, helpful attitude and professionalism.  It is great to have so many fantastic chefs here today with the common purpose of enriching students’ learning.  It is fantastic to return to the College for the second time to stage a lunch event with another new cohort of students aAllister Barsbynd the next generation of top chefs.  The chefs and students did a fantastic job today, they really stepped up to the task and it’s so important that we nurture and support the next generations of hospitality professionals. It’s important they can work with industry on the practical side, as well as on theory. For the students who took part today, this event was an excellent opportunity to build on important networks and partnerships in the hospitality and catering industry.”

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Cornish Chefs Bolster Support for Young Chefs and Hospitality Professionals at St Michaels Resort

Top Cornish chefs, Cornish suppliers and Hospitality students from both Cornwall College and Truro & Penwith College, gathered for a celebration of Cornish food, hosted by St Michaels Head Chef, Darren Millgate.

The resort has been recently revamped to the highest standard with stunning views across sub-tropical gardens to Gyllyngvase Beach.

The interior of the hotel is themed on its coastal and nautical surrounds and offers a fantastic beach getaway with an excellent local food offering.

Anna CavaAfter a Codorniu Anna Cava and canapè reception, Cornwall College hospitality lecturer Tracy Page gave a welcome speech with Chefs’ Forum Founder, Catherine Farinha.

Tracy said:

 “I taught Darren Millgate whilst he was at college as I have worked there for the last twenty years. I am absolutely delighted to be returning with a brigade full of young chefs and front of house professionals for Darren and the team to lead and mentor at this event.

It is crucial that employers support our colleges and it is truly fantastic to see so many industry professionals here today.

I am very grateful to botGavin butchery demoh Darren and Head of Food & Beverage and my great friend Polly Dent for giving our students such a fantastic experience here today”.

The aim of the day at St Michaels was to enable Darren to showcase locally-sourced produce in their menus with Darren and his ‘Star of the Day’ Steven Benney from Cornwall College showcasing seasonal dishes from St Michaels menu on The Chefs’ Forum demo stage.

Darren was also joined by Gavin Roberts of Two Brothers Food as he butchered a deer that he had shot himself as a licenced marksman.

Darren created a stunning venison carpaccio with beetroot crème fraiche, sprouts and hazelnuts.

Gavin’s expertly cut venison steakDarren and Steve star of the days were then cooked to perfection on the Kamado Joe grills by BBQ chef Sue Stoneman who made a delicious focaccia on which it was served.

After producing the canape menu to the highest standard with his peers, then acting as Commis Chef on the demo stage with Darren, Steven was offered a trial shift at St Michaels fantastic recognition of his excellent performance on the day.

Two more students were also rewarded for excellent performance: Meg Diamond from Truro and Penwith College and Malakai Sciasco – All received a complimentary pass to the health club at the resort.

Darren and the students Canapeslaid-on a fantastic canapè menu of

  • Seared pheasant breast, Jerusalem artichoke, chestnut and cherry
  • Gin cured sea bass with cucumber, strawberry and mint
  • Plum membrillo, vegan blue cheese and watercress on toasted sourdough
  • Ham hock terrine with spiced pear chutney
  • Crab arancini with watercress and cobnut pesto
  • Root vegetable Dauphinoise with sautéed Cornish mushrooms and truffle
  • Blackberry eclairs

In participation in the event, students from both Cornwall College and Truro & Penwith College got the opportunity to show off their culinary skills, working alongside Darren and his talented brigade to create and serve beautiful canapés incorporating top-drawer Cornish produce for the culinary experts who attended.

Matt Slater Cornwall Good Seafood GuideThe Cornwall Good Seafood Guide then took to the floor to showcase their fantastic website that allows chefs to make well-informed decisions when choosing seafood for their menus.

Marine Awareness Officer Matt Slater said:

“We pride ourselves on encouraging chefs to only use sustainable species in their menus. We educate chefs to buy sustainable fish with no plastic or polystyrene packaging.  If we all do our bit to reduce plastics and conserve fish stocks in our oceans, then together we can make a change.”

Sam Guarino, ‘F.O.O.D.I.E & Spice Nerd’ at Santa Maria maintained the sustainability theme, explaining that Santa Maria now use recyclable packaging for all their products, minimising plastics, whilst maintaining optimum flavour.  Sam offered to visit the chefs in their own restaurants to showcase the full range of market-leading herbs and spices.  He also invited them to board the legendary spicJames Catherall wine pairinge truck, a regular and popular feature at Chefs’ Forum events.

Catherine Farinha, concluded:

“The Chefs’ Forum aims to enhance the skill sets of top chefs in industry and students through showcasing the latest techniques being used in industry – This time it was ‘Perfect Pairing in the Dutchy’ with expert Ritter Courivaud food and Codorniu wine pairings from St Michaels F&B Manager James Catherall – We love doing events here in Cornwall, it was great to see Gavin’s Cornish venison demo, Darren’s brilliant dishes and excellent professionalism and enthusiasm from the students who took part.  We look forward to four more events in the county in 2020.”

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Top Chefs Celebrate Stokes Marsh Farm Beef from Pasture to Plate!

Walter Rose butchers played host to the Chefs’ Forum at Stokes Marsh Farm in Coulston, Westbury. Top chefs from across the UK gathered in the sunshine to see the farm in all its splendour and learn about the complex processes employed by the Johnson family to produce the best possible beef for its customers.

Tim Johnson, started the dayStudents plating by welcoming the hundred or so guests to his farm, giving them an insight into the long-standing relationship he has with Walter Rose & Son.  Chefs’ Forum Founder Catherine Farinha and Gloucestershire College School Lead Mark Hyde-Catton then relayed the importance of working together to enrich learning of the students.

Michelin-starred Executive Chef Hywel Jones (Lucknam Park) lead a brigade of talented young chefs from Gloucestershire College to produce some excellent canapés in the ‘Chefs’BBQ bavett steak Forum Field Kitchen’ in the farm’s barn to showcase Stokes Marsh Farm beef: Steak tartar with beetroot on a rye cracker and a corned brisket, Bramley apple and horseradish.

Chris T-bone chops of DJ BBQ fired-up the Kamado Joe grill and served up a delicious ‘plank’ of dirty platted beef fillet with coal roasted oysters and mushrooms.  He also made delicious ‘dirty steak and eggs’ where a bavette steak was cooked and blackened on the charcoal and fresh quail eggs were baked in the Falcon counter top convection oven.

Hywel Jones then took to the demo stage along with Sous Chef Alex Green and Junior Sous Richard Henderson to performed a fantastic coHywel Jones Demookery demonstration of fillet of Tim Johnson’s beef, Oxtail, Smoked Roscoff Onion and Caramelised Sherry Vinegar.  The trio also invited student Sophie Clough to help cook the dish in front of an audience of chefs and she did a great job!

Tim Johnson, third generation farmer then led chefs on a tour of the farm. Tim gave an excellent talk and tour, the cattle are allowed to potter in and out of the barn and field as they please. The specialist diet includes a mix of straw, grass silage, maize silage and barley to finish the cattle off to market standard, ready for slaughter.  Typically, twenty-five to thirty months old, Stokes Marsh Farm beef is produced from UK native breeds crossed with Angus or Hereford to give the flavour and conformity required for truly great tasting beef.  The beef is allowed to hang and mature naturally in the local abattoir before being passed onto Walter Rose & Son to hang in their fridges Chris Clark, Beer Master General at The Three Daggers Brewery gave a fascinating talk on how beer is made at the local brewery.  Hops was passed around for the audience to touch, taste and smell wFarmer Tim and his cowshilst they enjoyed delicious beer on tap, served from the Three Daggers Beer Bus!for a further four to six weeks.  Walter Rose then take great pride in carefully preparing the vast range of cuts requested by top chefs.

The Chefs’ Forum sponsors Bath Audi, Total Produce, Koppert Cress, Lovejoys, Valentine Equipment, Ritter Courivaud, Kamado Joe, Fish For Thought, Santa MariaJack from Walter Rose butchery, Williams Refrigeration, Falcon Foodservice, Prowrap and Foie Royale all took the opportunity to join Walter Rose and Son down on the farm to showcase their excellent produce, services and professional kitchen equipment in a mini trade show that took place in a large barn, with a Kamado Joe BBQ and Three Daggers beer bus in the farmyard.

A great day was had by all on the farm and it was fantastic to see the provenance of such high-quality meat whilst giving the chefs a chance to network with peers and suppliers, whilst learning about finest quality Wiltshire beef.  Any chefs wishing to talk to Walter Rose & Son about supply of Stokes Marsh Farm beef should contact Jack Cook on 01380 731058.

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Hospitality Careers Showcase at Cardiff Marriott

The Chefs’ Forum was delighted hold its first Wales Chefs’ Forum event of 2019 on Monday 4th March at Cardiff Marriott.  Students from Cardiff and Vale College and Coleg Gwent joined Executive chef Andrew Robertson and his team for a day of curriculum enrichment and work experience in event delivery.

Andrew worked with the students to prepare a canapé & drinks reception and a great afternoon of masterclasses and cookery demos followed.  During the reception, chefs were encouraged to take a look around theAndrew Robertson demo mini trade show, where top suppliers showcased their products and services. Ron Hedicker of Falcon Foodservice cooked Usk Valley sausage rolls in the Falcon counter top oven which went down a treat with the chefs who attended.

Exhibitors included Headline Sponsor Cardiff Audi, showcasing the beautiful A7 outside the Marriott hotel in central Cardiff, Foie Royale, Falcon Foodservice, Syft, Koppert Cress, Santa Maria and Prowrap.

First to take to the stage was Andrew with Chefs’ Forum Founder Catherine Farinha.  Catherine and Andrew welcomed the hundred or so guests to the event and spoke about the positivity of chefs, colleges and universities coming together to raise the profile of the hospitality industry in Wales.

Jack Walter Rose demoCatherine then welcomed Jack Cook and Alex Byrn from award-winning butchers Walter Rose & Son to the stage to give an expert pork butchery demonstration, creating cuts for Andrew to cook with.

Andrew then demonstrated a delicious pork loin dish with butternut squash puree, garnished with choice micro herbs from Koppert Cress. Koppert development chef Jak Cresser-Brown paired some excellent cresses as ingredients as opposed to garnish including micro shiso purple and gagmnam tops. Jak suggested shiso purple because it paired very nicely with the Asian influencedJak Cresser-Brown and students flavours, as well as the butternut squash. The Gangnam tops gave a fresh crispy bite to the finished dish.

Gareth Hope, Executive Chef of Marriott St Pierre in Newport then took to the stage to create a beautiful herb-crusted striploin.  Jak gave Gareth Time Cress as an aromatic to cook the striploin and then to finish Jak suggested Tahoon, which enhanced the richness and deepened the flavour of the dish.  Whilst they were demonstration, both chefs spoke of their camaraderie as part of the Marriott culinary team and said they often join forces for cooking eveGareth from St Pierre Marriottnts and CPD.

Mike Logut of Foie Royale then presented his fantastic ethical alternative to foie gras and it went down a storm with the chefs.

Andrew’s sous chef Angelo Rodrigues rounded-up the event with a brilliant eclair filling and decorating competition for the Coleg Gwent students.  The prize was a day in the kitchen with the Marriott pastry chefs for the winner.  Andrew was so impressed with all of the students that he offered to take a masterclass in the college for all students who took part.  This will be arranged with Helen Lawless, Head of School for Hospitality Eclair competitionand Catering.

Since the event yesterday, The Chefs’ Forum has been inundated with requests from chefs and colleges wishing to take part in quarterly events going forward –   This is fantastic to see!

The next Welsh Chefs’ Forum event will be a Chefs’ Lunch, taking place at Cardiff and Vale College on the 17th June 2019.  Any chefs or college wishing to attend should contact

Mark Sargeant’s Rocksalt Plays Host to The Chefs’ Forum!

Monday (26) February saw top Kentish chefs and students from North Kent College gather in Folkstone for a day of hospitality industry networking, knowledge-sharing and CPD. Mark Sargeant, Gordon Ramsay’s former right-hand man and former Michelin-starred Head Chef of London’s Claridges and is now operating four restaurants in Kent.  It seemed only fitting that The Chefs’ Forum celebrated his success and showcased the culinary brilliance of his chefs from Rocksalt, The George, The Duke William and The Wife of Bath.

Adam and studentStudents from North Kent College joined Head Chefs Marcin Szelag (Rocksalt), George Marsh (The Duke William) and Adam Ashley (The Wife of Bath) to create and serve stunning canapés, showcasing the Rocksalt menu and watch fantastic cookery demonstrations by Sargeant’s talented brigades.

Marcin said

“I have been here at Rocksalt since day one and really enjoy working with such a beautiful view each day, looking out into the sea where we harvest beautiful fish used in our menus.  It is great to see so many chefs come to support us today form Kent and as far as London!  The students have been fantastic, extremely professional and aCanapes 3 credit to their college. It’s great to invite my peers from the other restaurants in the group to work with me on such an inspirational day.”

On the warmest February day on record, there couldn’t have been a nicer venue for the first Kent & Sussex Chefs’ Forum event of 2019.  Sargeant’s Rocksalt Restaurant in Folkstone boasts a chic modern interior with floor-to-ceiling glass and a harbourside terrace and lent itself perfectly to a day of culinary excellence, chef demonstrations by the group’s head chefs and a celebration of the finest produce from land to sea.

Duncan Wheetman, Chef Lecturer at North Kent College added

“The students had a great day.  It is really important that they take part in events like this to enhance their learning and offer optimum curriculum enrichment.  Working with Marcin and the team has been an excellent experience for the chefs in the kitchen and front of house as they created, served and explained the canapés to the chefs.  It was a great confidence-building exercise and an excellent opportunity to forge links with employers.”

Jack demoLand

First to take to the demo stage was Jack Cook from Walter Rose & Son with a fascinating lamb butchery demonstration in which he broke down a whole lamb and demonstrated choice cuts such as shank, rump, rack and loin chops as well as more old-fashioned cuts such as scrag end, gigot (leg of lamb sleeve) and neck.  Although based in Devizes, the award-winning butcher supplies many top restaurants in Kent and invited chefs to come for butchery training at his purpose-built cutting plant to enhance their skill sets.  Amongst topics discussed was Brexit and the importance of using British butchers to support our farmers.

PH Fish DemoSea

Next, Alex Bartlett, expert fish filleter at PH Fish Services showcased various techniques in filleting and preparing hake, gurnard, turbot and scallops.  Alex explained how he filleted his first fish at just ten years old, whilst Director Lee Hodges talked about the heritage of the business and his experience in the industry, both as a trawlerman and fishmonger to trade.

Chefs Marcin, George and Adam then joined forces to cook the lamb and the fish on the demo stage, finishing it in the Falcon Counter top oven.  It was great to see such creativity and give the visiting chefs the chance to sample some of the best quality produce available.Lamb dish

Other highlights of the day were a competition by deep clean experts Bright Hygiene to win an Amazon Echo.  This was won by level two food and beverage and professional cookery diploma student Jordan Maleed (18) of North Kent College who correctly guessed the number of sweets in a jar to be 215!  These was also a talk on Santa Maria herbs and spices by F.O.O.D.I.E Sam Guarino and a presentation and tasting on Foie Royale (ethical alternative to foie gras) by Mike Logut of Sapphire Foods.

Surf and turf

The Chefs’ Forum is looking forward to holding its next event in Kent on the 8th April with Petrus Madutlela at the Poet at Matfield.  Any chefs or suppliers wishing to take part should contact

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Top Welsh Chefs Support Young Chefs in The Classroom (Y Dosbarth) at Cardiff & Vale College

The Chefs’ Forum staged ‘A Chefs’ Lunch’ at Cardiff & Vale College on Monday (29) October.  Hospitality students at the college had the opportunity to learn from industry experts as they welcomed chefs from Seren Diemwnt, Celtic Manor, Heaney’s Restaurant and St David’s Hotel.

Tommy with studentThe Chefs’ Form holds a culinary convention in Wales each quarter and is proud to showcase students from Cardiff and Vale College working front of house and in the kitchen at a variety of leading operations, under renowned local chefs and hospitality experts.  Today’s event was a fantastic opportunity to showcase the college’s world class facility and why it is carving a great reputation for Welsh culinary excellence. The College has won a string of accolades including an AA Rosette for The Classroom Restaurant, Best Restaurant in Cardiff Life and we are looking forward to being reaffirmed as a Centre of Excellence for Hospitality, Patisserie and Confectionery.

Gethin ReesThe students worked in the kitchen with top local chefs to serve a delicious four course lunch for over sixty culinary experts. The chefs mentoring the students were Gethin Rees (Seren Diemwnt), Simon Cockford (Celtic Manor), TV Chef Tommy Heaney (Heaney’s Restaurant), Martyn Watkins (St David’s Hotel & Spa). The ‘pay what you can’ lunch raised an impressive £685 in donations made to The Chefs’ Forum Educational Foundation, a means-tested fund to help disadvantaged students aged 14-25 make their way in the hospitality industry.

The menu produced by the chefs and students was truly outstanding and the room fell silent as each of the chefs came out to introduce their course to the guests.

Principal Kay Martin gave a welcome speech to the guests and spoke of her passion for the industry and why events like these are very gSimon Crockfordood in inspiring young people, lessening the shortfall in chefs.   Kay has a hospitality background and trained at what is now University College, Birmingham. Kay explained that the world-class fGethin Rees 2acilities at the college are just part of her vision to make the learners truly work-ready and that the whole facility is now a centre of excellence with gold standard accreditation for its hospitality programme, awarded by People First, the skills sector council.

Kay stated

“We like to offer our students a ‘real not realistic’ learning experience in working within a fully operational business, open to the general public six days a week.  Our learners are accustomed to working with industry-leading equipment.  We have a great relationship with The Chefs’ Forum and events like this are great for our students “Gethin starter

Deputy Head of Hospitality, Eric Couturier supported Kay’s inspiration speech on the college saying

“It is superb to welcome these chefs to the college  today.  I am delighted that they gave up their time to inspire our learners and impart their knowledge and experience onto them.  Today has been a fantastic networking opportunity for all involved in the culinary industry of Wales. As a result of today, one of our students has secured some weekend work with TV chef Tommy Heaney, which is a great result!”

The Chefs’ Forum Founder Catherine Farinha introduced the chefs to the industry guests and invited them to introduce each course and talk about their experience in working with the students to produce each dish.

Acclaimed Chef and avid supporter of The Chefs’ Forum Martyn Watkins concluded

Martyn Watkins“Today has been amazing.  I regularly welcome Cardiff and Vale learners into my kitchen and their performance today has been nothing short of magnificent.  It was really pleasing to see them take on every task presented to them in such and enthusiastic fashion.   I have hosted two events for The Chefs Forum at St David’s Hotel and this is the second fund-raising lunch I’ve cooked for the Educational Foundation here at the college – It’s a very worthwhile initiative, raising vital funds for young chefs entering our industry”

The next Chefs’ Forum event will take place on the 4th March 2019.  Any chef interested in attending should contact The Chefs’ Forum.

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Devon Chefs Enjoy a BBQ and Braai at The Deer Park

The Chefs’ Forum was delighted to return to the stunning Deer Park Hotel near Honiton yesterday for a fabulous day of cookery demos and a show-stopping braai in the new outdoor kitchen. MD Mark Godfrey has transformed the country house into an amazing events and wedding venue with chef Richard Thomas-Still at the helm in the kitchen.

Serving canapesThe event began with a canapé and fizz reception, with the canapés prepared by Head Chef at Deer Park, Richard Thomas-Still, with the help of learners from South Devon College. The involvement of students and apprentices is a key element to the Chefs’ Forum events, and Richard was full of praise for the young people.

The canapé menu comprised:

  • Walled Garden tomato tarte tatin, basil, ricotta
  • Venison loin, marinated in beetroot and red wine, beetroot chutney, smoked rapeseed mayonnaise
  • Braised pork belly, smoked paprika cracker and sweetcorn purée

Dessert CanapesThe students all worked hard to assemble and served the canapés to the culinary guests who attended and impressed all who attended by perfectly remembering the delicious canapés being served.

Richard said:

“I was really impressed with the way the students got on with the task in hand and produced fantastic canapés for top local chefs who attended.  I really enjoyed sharing the fantastic facility we have here. It was great to work with the next generation of chefs who show great promise.”

Two South Devon College students were approached by employers with job offers which showed their professionalism and talent shone through on the day.

Chantelle (L) and Maddy (R)Level two student, Chantelle Cockram (left in adjacent photoh) was one of those offered a trial shift, Chantelle really enjoyed her first Chefs’ Forum event, she said

“Today has been very different to the environment I am used to at college.  The kitchen is much smaller and we really had to work as a team to assemble and get the canapés out today. I live in Torquay and I am delighted that a restaurant near to my house has invited me down to see them – I really enjoyed my work experience here at Deer Park Hotel.”

Lewis demoThis was followed by seventeen-year-old Commis Chef Lewis Nicholas taking to The Chefs’ Forum demo stage to showcase a signature mackerel starter.  It was both chefs’ first ever demonstration and to a tough audience of peers. Both chefs did an amazing job and Richard left as soon as the demo was finished to prepare the braai for the culinary guests.

All quality ingredients for the demos and the canapés showcasing the Deer Park menu were supplied by Chefs’ Forum Sponsors Total Produce and Two Brothers Foods.

Guests then gathered on the terrace for a demonstration of the energy-saving Synergy Grill by demo chef Claire Mansfield.  The guests were shown how the grill can half cooking Claire on Synergy Grilltime, whilst sealing in moisture for excellent results.  The grill is also Vegetarian Society approved, which attracted a great deal of interest from the crowd.

A spot of laser clay pigeon shooting was then in order, which proved a real hit with the chefs as they competed to achieve the best shot and the worst shot, with a prize being awarded for each.

The chefs worked-up an appetite for the braai that Richard was preparing in the garden and the chefs were in for a real treat!

Pochette cooked on the braaiBeef ribsRichard and his team had worked tirelessly through the night to prepare a feast in his ‘no-expense-spared’ outdoor kitchen.  On the Authentic South African Braai he cooked spit roast pochette with a walled garden herb sauce, venison loin wrapped in a red wine soaked cloth ‘lomo al trapo’, dirty veg cooked on the coals and Deer Park Bread.

On the smoker he cooked home smoked BBQ short rib of beef served with chipotle mayo, red cabbage slaw and celeriac.

Catherine Farinha, founder of The Chefs’ Forum concluded:

“Whilst we try to keep chefs updated with the latest industry techniques, equipment and trends, it’s also good to allow chefs to relax and socialise with other chefs on their day off – Laser Clay Shooting at The Deer Park really enabled them to do this and the feedback from attendees has been really positive – We are very much looking forward to our next Devon event which will be a fundraising college lunch on the 26th November at City College Plymouth.”

The day finished with Head Gardener Olly Forster (and dog, Fern) giving the chefs a tour of his beautiful walled garden.  Olly kindly gave the chefs seedlings and cuttings to take away with them and Richard and his team a delicious culinary memory to hold forever.

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Salcombe Gin and Glorious Gastronomy Enjoyed by Devon Chefs at Thurlestone Hotel

Brilliant sunshine kissed the stunning Thurlestone Hotel on Monday September (18). Top chefs from Devon and beyond gathered at the upmarket venue for a day of culinary celebration and networking.

The Chefs’ Forum holds four events per year in Devon and it was fantastic to see so many loyal supporters from across the county and beyond!Canapes

Executive Chef Hugh Miller welcomed students from South Devon College into his kitchen at the award-winning Trevilder Restaurant at the hotel, to cook and serve canapés from his menu with ingredients supplied by Two Brothers Foods, Total Produce, Dart Fresh Produce, Koppert Cress, Mevalco and Clifton Coffee.

Hugh said:

“From my experience, you don’t know what to expect from students when they arrive in the kitchen. Today however showed me that the South Devon College students were more than capable of rising to the challenge. Once I showed them what to do, they created and served the canapés with very little intervention from me.  I am delighted with their attitude and results produced.”

Adam Willcocks

Food and Beverage Manger Adam Willcocks expertly organised the front of house students taking him back to when he attended a Chefs’ Forum Autumn Lunch at The Bath Priory, way back in 2012, as a reward for excellent performance on his course whilst studying at City College Plymouth – It is great seeing former hospitality students making their way into industry and now hosting an event of their own.Andy's Demo Dish

Senior Sous Chef Andy Hunt opened the show with a fabulous demo of Creedy Carver duck breast with rhubarb gel and poached rhubarb and apple. He announced that it has been on the menu for the third time as a firm favourite in the eleven years he has worked at the hotel. Today’s event was a great opportunity to test it on his chef peers.  Andy explained to the students that a career as a chef can take you around the world and enable you to learn new languages and see new countries as he did.

Gavin Sausage Making with StudentNext up, was Gavin Roberts of Two Brothers Foods who gave an impressive butchery master class, this time, boning out a pork fore.  He showed the chefs how to achieve tasty cuts with zero wastage as a sausage-making demo followed.  Two level two students, Liam Hope-Brown and Tom O’Donoghue from South Devon College rose to the challenge of live sausage making in front of a tough audience of professional chefs, their peers and their lecturers – they did brilliantly and took the sausages made home as a souvenir!

Gavin said:

Gavin Sausage Making“We as an industry need to recognise, that there you can use all of the animal and as my grandfather used to say ‘from hooter to tooter’ or nose to tail as its more commonly referred to these days! It was great to introduce the students to ‘Matilda’ my sausage-making machine given to me by my grandmother and the humble beginning of the Kernow Sausage brand eleven years ago.  For the first two years – all of our sausages were made by hand using this very machine.

Not only are we morally obligated to use more of the beast having taken its life, but in not embracing these lesser known cheaper cuts we are truly missing out on deliciously different gastro adventures with strong USP & robbing ourselves of some absolute GP% legends. Hopefully all of the chefs will have a go at making their own gourmet sausages and we at Kernow Sausage Co are always on hand to custom-make any specific recipes!”

Jordan Jamon CuttingBrothers Carlos and Javier Martiniega of Martinieaga Olive Oil introduced their family business producing the finest Spanish Olive Oil. Mevalco showcased this and a whole range of other Spanish delicacies available from the Bristol-based supplier including a delicious jamon on an authentic stand which was carved live by Thurlestone chef Jordan Bartholomew.

Next, Tom Litten of Salcombe Gin then took the floor to give a tasting of his delicious handcrafted gin, distilled with thirteen carefully selected botanicals.

Claire on the Synergy GrillClaire Mansfield of Synergy Grill cooked up a feast of Kernow Sausage Haute Dogs before the chefs embarked on a game of golf on the Thurlestone Hotel Golf Course.

A great day was had by all and the event was extremely well-received by all who attended.

The Chefs’ Forum will hold its next Devon event at The Deer Park Hotel on the 17th September.  Anyone wishing to secure their place, please contact

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Marksmen, Mixology and Macarons at the stunning Paschoe House!

On Monday (5) February The Chefs’ Forum gathered at Paschoe House on the 5th February 2018 for a celebration of game with Two Brothers Foods and Synergy Grill to mark SIX extremely successful years of the industry networking organisation staging quarterly chef networking events in Devon!

Top chefs from Devon and surrounds attended a day of butchery and cookery demos, plus a laser clay pigeon shoot during which Two Brothers Foods and Synergy Grill showcased the plethora of delicious ways in which finest west country pork can be used to make premium sausages and incorporate them into restaurant menus for optimum margin.  Plump Kernow Sausages were cooked on the award-wining energy-saving Synergy grill.  Laser Clay shooting was laid-on to encourage chefs to shoot game for their own meus.

Gavin Two Brothers demoAward-winning butcher Gavin Roberts, Director of Two Brothers Foods gave a pork butchery demonstration which the chefs found very interesting.  Chefs’ Forum member Bjorn Moen of Pattard Kitchen in Hartland (Devon) said

“The pork butchery demo was very timely as I’m picking up two whole pigs tomorrow.  It was great to have a refresher course and it’s clear that Gavin really knows his stuff – I get to these events when I can and found this really fascinating”

Samuel Demo dishHead Chef of Paschoe House, Samuel Brook performed a stunning cookery demonstration of Pheasant breast, beetroot, chilli jam and confit pheasant leg spring roll. He also created delicious array of savoury canapés with students from South Devon College and HIT Chefs’ Academy.  The young chefs worked together to produce an impressive spread of canapes including: duck breast, confit orange and chicory, game ballotine, venison carpaccio, Asian custard and mackerel tartare, vegetable spring roll and chilli jam.

Gavin Sausage DemoGavin then led HIT Training learner Corey Friend (apprentice at Okehampton Golf Club) joined South Devon College students Leah O’Brian and Samuel Camplin in a sausage-making demonstration.  The students worked together to produce some brilliant Kernow bangers to the award-winning secret recipe which they got to take home as the newly-stuffed seasoned pork mince had to marinade before cooking.

Claire from SynergySynergy Grill Development Chef Claire Mansfield prepared Two Brothers Bratwurst and Spicy Sausage Haute Dogs on the Synergy Grill while chefs and students practiced their shots in the beautiful gardens at Paschoe House.

Samuel and the students then produced a delicious afternoon tea comprising of Coconut mousse, confit raspberry and a lime sable, Salted caramel tart, ginger bread and a dark chocolate creamaux, Pina colada choux bun with spiced poached pineapple.

CanapesSJ from Salcombe GinThe sweet canapes were served with gin cocktails paired by Salcombe Gin Brand Ambassador, Sarah-Jane Paskin including Clifton Coffee espresso in Salcombe Martinis. The Afternoon Tea culminated with two types of Devon scone – plain and fruit, served in traditional Devon fashion with clotted cream and strawberry jam – a delicious end to a marvellous day that was enjoyed by all who took part.

Samuel said

“The students were fantastic today and I’ve really enjoyed having them in my kitchen.  I am very lucky to be Head Chef here at the age of 25 which is earlier in my career than I could have dreamt of.  We are pushing hard to get our work recognised and I am delighted to showcase my food in such opulent surroundings here at Paschoe House.  The students from South Devon College and HIT Training worked very well to get food out on time and the guests and visiting chefs gave some fantastic feedback on delicious food we produced as a team.  I have been very pleased with all the young chefs in my kitchen today.”

Canapes 2Samuel CanapesThe students and HIT Training learners were fantastic and extremely professional and Samuel proved an inspirational and highly-encouraging role model – Samuel is just what is needed in industry to nurture the next generation. The students aided Samuel’s brigade of young chefs in preparing and serving the canapés at the event.  The Chefs’ Forum is a great chance for young chefs and hospitality professionals to demonstrate their impressive culinary skills to local employers looking to fill their kitchens with young chefs.

The Chefs’ Forum launched in Devon six years ago. It has since expanded across nine regions to include highly accredited chefs, catering colleges and top suppliers on a near-national level.

Catherine Farinha, Founder of The Chefs’ Forum and event organiser concluded:

“It was wonderful to hold an event here at Paschoe house.  Over the last six years, The Chefs’ Forum has forged valuable links between local catering colleges and top chefs Devon’s local restaurant scene.  Our quarterly Chefs’ Forum events ensure that communication between the two entities is effortless and seamless. This will lead to the next generation of top chefs learning from the very best in the business. “

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