The Chefs’ Forum, Clifton Food Range and Lucknam Park Reward Young Talent at the Institute of Hospitality Southern Branch Awards!

On May (3) 2016, Luxury 5-star hotel Lainston House, an Exclusive Hotel near Winchester, Hampshire, brought Oscars-style glamour to the Institute of Hospitality (Southern Branch) Student Awards this year, delivering an all-new gala experience for winners, supporters and sponsors of the annual industry event.

Venue sponsor Lainston House, part of the Exclusive Hotels and Venues group enlisted MasterChef: The Professionals 2013 winner and Chef Director at etch Steven Edwards to host this year’s awards, bringing a celebrity-like status to the event.

The Chefs’ Forum Founder, Catherine Farinha joined Stephen on stage to present a very special trophy to the winner of the chef category, designed and made by market-leading waterbath manufacturer, Clifton Food Range.

Catherine and Steven Edwards with Pengxiong Yi

Catherine said:

“We have already staged two highly successful Chefs’ Forum events showcasing sous vide cookery at Lainston House with our Committee Member Andy MacKenzie (also MIH, member of the Institute of Hospitality and Executive Chef of the Exclusive Chefs’ Academy), Olly Rouse and the team.   It is now The Chefs’ Forum’s turn to support an amazing industry event.  I was truly honoured to be asked to sponsor the winning chef category and am looking forward to this being an annual presentation by The Chefs’ Forum, Clifton Food Range and Lucknam Park”.

The Chefs’ Forum is all about supporting young chefs, so when Andy MacKenzie and Tom Goss approached The Chefs’ Forum to sponsor the winning Chef category of the awards, the answer was a huge ‘YES’!

Clifton Food Range has worked with The Chefs’ Forum since its inception in 2010.  Based in Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset, the Clifton Food Range brand and factory represent globally-recognised, sous vide machines used in kitchens all over the world.

Catherine approached Clifton Food Range Operations Director, Adrian Ross with the brief of designing a unique trophy to present to the winning young chef on the night of the awards.  Adrian and the talented design team at Clifton Food applied the utmost level of thought and design into creating a beautiful trophy with a theme of ‘time being of the essence’ in the kitchen:

Clifton Food Range sous vide accessories formed the numbers and hands of a clock face and made for a unique and truly beautiful memento of fantastic culinary achievement.

The winning student was level 3 student Pengxiong Yi (33) of South Downs College.  In addition to the trophy, Pengxiong won a day in the kitchen and dinner with Michelin-starred chef Hywel Jones at Lucknam Park and a set of sous-vide accessories from Clifton Food Range.

Pengxiong said:

“It is a true honour to receive this award and I am delighted that all of my hard work has paid off in winning this fantastic prize and cooking experience at Lucknam Park.  I can’t wait to learn from Hywel and the team in such a fantastic kitchen.  The offer of dinner is really fantastic as it will be my first Michelin-starred dining experience”.

Tom Goss MIH, Chairman of The Institute of Hospitality (Southern Branch) commented: “We are delighted with the overwhelming support from Lainston House and the Exclusive Hotels and Venues team who are pulled out all the stops to ensure this year’s awards had more profile and recognition than ever before. Adding in personal interviews with the nominees and inviting in a ‘celebrity chef’ to host are small touches that our student audience will thoroughly appreciate.”

Andy MacKenzie MIH added, “As a member of the Institute and a keen supporter of young and aspiring chef talent within our industry, I was only too pleased to be part of this awards event and thrilled, with the support of Exclusive, to bring a touch of Hollywood style drama to this years’ gala evening which has received unprecedented entries.”

Designed to reward the talent and efforts of hospitality and catering students studying a nationally-recognised qualification at Level 2 or 3 in colleges and training centres across the Southern region – comprising Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorset – the Institute of Hospitality Awards recognise three categories, Front of House (sponsored by The AA), Pastry Chef, (sponsored by Yates Supplies) and Chef (sponsored by the Chefs Forum).  Students from South Downs College, Chichester College, Eastleigh College, The Bournemouth & Poole College, Kingston Maurward College in Dorchester, The Basingstoke College of Technology and Highbury College City of Portsmouth were all shortlisted this year.