The Chefs’ Forum at The Waldorf Hilton
The Chefs’ Forum summer event took place at The Waldorf Hilton on Monday (22) July. Built in 1908, the historic hotel in Aldwych, London was the perfect venue to welcome over one hundred chefs and hospitality professionals for a day of fabulous cookery, cocktail demonstrations and industry networking.
Executive Chef Karl Richardson lead a team of students from West London College, University of West London and ‘Syfters’ in his kitchen to produce stunning canapés to be served at midday during the networking session, showcasing his menu.
The canapés were accompanied by a delicious welcome drink of Anna de Codorníu Brut, kindly donated by Cordoníu who supply The Waldorf Hilton.
Karl and his brigade worked tirelessly to produce a delicious selection of savoury and sweet bites to impress the culinary guests with their skills with a view to gaining employment in the best professional kitchens in London. This was certainly a possibility as chefs from the finest kitchens including Hakkasan, Sheraton Grand, The Dorchester, Chamberlain’s Restaurant and many more gathered at The Waldorf for a celebration of gastronomic flair and culinary pyrotechnics!
Denise Charles, Head of Curriculum for Service Industries stated:
“Today has been an amazing experience for our students. They love to work with different chefs, students from other colleges 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 Denise and West London’s College for four years now. It is great for the students to meet so many fantastic chefs and peers from the University of West London and Syft here today with the common purpose of enriching students’ learning. 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 have the opportunity to 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.”
The day started with Chefs’ Forum Founder Catherine Farinha and Denise Charles of West London’s College making a welcome speech and talking about the work The Chefs’ Forum does to support the college in enriching students’ learning. A networking session then followed, where Chefs’ Forum Sponsors showcased their produce and products to the industry professionals who attended.
Syft opened the show, giving employers an insight as to how to get rated temps in their business. The online app supplies trusted staff at short notice and can be a great tool for businesses when regular staff call in sick or fail to turn up for work.
Matt Golding from Team Orca followed by presenting the latest technology in food waste management with a brilliant film on the big screens. The Baby Orca digests all kitchen food waste (except bone) over a twenty-four-hour period, turning it into dirty water, radically reducing the volume of food bins required and food waste bills.
Olivence (The Provence Olive Oil Society) then took the floor with a brilliant olive oil tasting of three different olive oil producers. The olive oil producers create their delicious oils in small craft units and harvest the olives by hand. Olivence members make unique oils with distinctive tastes and personalities, and all of the finest quality to give UK chefs the opportunity to use them in their signature dishes. The oils were very well-received by the chefs.
Executive Chef Karl Richardson and Executive Sous Carlos Gonzalez Hernandez took to the Chefs’ Forum demo stage to showcase two signature dishes:
Rabbit Head to Toe and Rabbit Ragu.
Karl made fresh pasta in the Bottene Inver 3T pasta machine from Valentine Equipment and said that he was very impressed with it. The guests all tucked into Karl’s Rabbit Ragu, then his second dish of Rabbit Head to Toe.
Head Pastry Chef Mark Cutamora then followed with a demo of and Stem Ginger and Lime Baked Alaska. Mark stored the baked Alaska in the Adande refrigerated drawer unit set to ‘freezer’. He then finished them with a blow torch on the counter top, showcasing its space-saving features for the busy kitchen.
Cheese Aficionado Peter Liddell-Grainger of Harvey & Brockless teamed-up with Waldorf Wine garden Sommelier, Filippo Prastaro to showcase three delicious cheeses, paired to three excellent wines. The favourite was a Cabernet franc rosé, la java des grandes esperances with a Blanche Goats Cheese.
To round off the day, Good Godfrey’s Bar Manager gave a brilliant cocktail demonstration and staged a student cocktail-making competition won by Connor David McAlpine of University of West London with his ‘Lovey Dovey’ cocktail made from a ‘mystery bag’ of ingredients. His prize was afternoon tea for two at the Waldorf!
West London College student Michelle Thacker secured a trial shift at The Waldorf on the back of her excellent performance on the day. Michelle, once homeless has worked hard on her course and should be very proud of her achievement – we wish her all the very best of success in her career!
A great day was had by all at The Waldorf and we can’t wait to welcome Karl and the team to West London College to teach students in their training kitchens as part of The Chefs’ Forum Academy set to launch at the college this September.
The next London Chefs’ Forum event will take place at Cliveden House with Roux Scholar and Head Chef Paul O’Neill, any chefs or suppliers wishing to attend should register their interest with Rebecca Saunders at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photography credit: www.fleurchallisphotography.com