The Chefs’ Forum and Bar 44 inspire Bristol’s Next Generation of Young Chefs

This week, catering and hospitality students from City of Bristol College, got to work alongside head chef, Tom Maynard, to showcase the very best in modern Spanish cuisine at the latest Chefs’ Forum event at Bar 44 in Regent Street, Clifton, Bristol.

The event followed a similar event that took place in the flagship Cardiff Bar 44 two years ago, also led by Tom.  Tom himself is an ex-student of Coleg Gwent, a fantastic college in Crosskeys, South Wales, where The Chefs’ Forum has launched Wales’ first Chefs’ Forum AChurros canapescademy, joining three others in the UK at The Manchester College, West London College and Gloucestershire College.  Tom is looking forward to joining the team of chefs teaching in the college kitchens each week, as they do on a near-national level to enrich the students’ learning, making them more work-ready on leaving college as well as engaging with local employers in their areas.

In hosting this event in Bristol, Tom and his brilliant team motivated and mentored students at City of Bristol College to show them how exciting a career in the hospitality industry can be.

Back of house studentThe Chefs’ Forum is a UK-wide networking group for leading chefs, suppliers and catering students aimed at bridging the gap between industry and education to inspire the next generation of young chefs.

Students from City of Bristol College helped Tom Maynard create a selection of modern tapas, using local produce for the 40 culinary experts who arrived at midday.  The bite sized delights included:

Tom Cookery demoFor the demo, Tom cooked Walter Rose sweetbreads with piquillo pepper, capers and oloroso which went down a treat with the culinary audience of chefs and hospitality industry professionals.

Alex Byrne of Walter Rose broke down a saddle of venison on the butcher’s block, preparing loin fillets for Tom’s dish of loin of venison, celeriac puree and girolles.  The rare venison was just to the chefs’ liking and nothing was left on the sample plates.

Highlights from across the afternoon’s event included live demonstrations of Bar 44 signature dishes, guided wine tasting by Fernando Centeno Sanchez of Cordorníu UK, an introduction to Foie Royale, an ethically produced foie gras, as well as a churros cooking competition for the students to show off their culinary talents.

The competition was won by James Brooks, who received a voucher for a free tapas lunch for himself and two friends at the Bristol Bar 44.

James Winner of the Churros CompCommenting on the event, Head Chef, Tom Maynard said:

“The Students were brilliant today and really impressed me with their culinary skills. This is the second event I have held with The Chefs’ Forum and I feel that it is invaluable for our industry. It’s a great opportunity to give something back and use my experience to inspire the next generation of budding young chefs”

Production Chef Apprentice James Brooks, aged 17 said:

“I’ve always wanted to work in a restaurant and so this was a great opportunity to put my skills cooking skills to the test and see what goes on behind the scenes. It was really interesting to be shown how a restaurant operates and see just how precise chefs are with their food preparation. It’s been a very rewarding and fun experience.”

Tom and front of house studentRyan Fernandez, Chef Lecturer at City of Bristol College, said:

“We were delighted to be part of this Chef’s Forum event. It has given the leaners hands-on experience working in a busy restaurant and taught them that although the food is obviously important, there are other aspects to consider while running a restaurant, such as the social and business side of the industry.”

Chefs’ Forum Founder, Catherine Farinha concluded:

“We’ve had a fantastic experiencChurros compe here at Bar 44. Tom and the team have been a joy to work with and a real inspiration to the learners from Cowbridge Comprehensive.  I have received a great deal of positive feedback from chefs and learners alike which is extremely rewarding.  Spanish Gastronomy proved a real hit with our members and I look forward to many more Bristol-based events as The Chefs’ Forum continues to flourish.”

Photo credit: Josh Campbell at J/Campbell Photography