The Chefs’ Forum End of Year Roundup 2016

As 2016 draws to a close, The Chefs’ Forum would like to reflect on what has been a fantastically successful year and give thanks to those who have made it so.

michael-wignall-prepping-for-his-demo-350-heightWe held a total of 32 Chefs’ Forum events across eight areas: London, Bath & Cotswolds, Devon, Cornwall, Wales, Dorset & Hampshire, Kent & Sussex and Bristol.  Each event saw a fantastic, inspirational host chef demonstrate their individual cooking style to their peers.  They also worked with students at the local catering colleges and HIT Training to prepare and serve canapés to an average of fifty local chefs who attended each event. Please click here to read about the industry heroes and prestigious venues and event topics that have contributed to our amazing year of inspirational chef events.

l-r-stuart-eddy-the-square-byrok-williams-the-square-jude-kereama-kota-kai-daniel-toft-amelies-jake-perry-the-ship-simon-allott-rick-steins-porthlevenIt is because of these fantastic industry ambassadors that The Chefs’ Forum not only serves as a highly effective networking platform for professional chefs, but as an introduction to employers for hospitality students and college lecturers and a chance for the best suppliers to catch up with their most valued customers on a regular basis.  The Chefs’ Forum also facilitates chefs and college lecturers’ continual professional developIMG_6780ment with compelling and industry relevant subjects and topics covered at each event from pastry to sustainable fish, Michelin-starred cookery to chocolate, cheese, wine-tasting, sous-vide and butchery.  There’s always knowledge to be shared, supplier visits in which to take part and menu inspiration to be gained.

The Chefs’ Forum is proud to work with the best suppliers to industry, only working with brands and suppliers recommended by our chef members.  We would like to thank our chef members for recommending to their suppliers that they work with us to further-raise the profile of their brand and as a trusted supplier, introducing them to their peers, so they too can benefit from excellence in produce and service.  We would like to thank all our partners for their support throughout the year and look forward to another successful year with them in 2017.

London Produce Show for SiteIn June, The Chefs’ Forum Demo Stage made its annual appearance at The London Produce Show for the third year running. Masterchef of Great Britain and International Restaurant Consultant Peter Gorton hosted a galaxy of culinary stars on the stage at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.  Peter is looking forward to doing so again this year with students from Redbridge College, Westminster Kingsway College, University of West London and The Chefs’ Forum Academy delegates from Weston and Gloucestershire College.  One of the most pleasing results of the incredibly successful 2016 show was outstanding Redbridge College student Lee-James Hickey being spotted by Chef Michael Dutnall MCA. Lee-James received a ‘baptism of fire’ on the demo stage as he stepped in with Peter Gorton to cover a demo chef who was unable to make it last-minute due to sickness.  Lee-James nailed the demo in front of an audience of industry experts and foodie media and impressed Michael so much that he was offered a trial shift on the spot and is now working full-time at the RAF Club.

September 2016 saw the launch of The Chefs’ Forum Academy at the Ofstead-Outstanding Weston College.  This initiative has proven a great success as top chefs go into the college once a week to work with the students in a variety of specialisms and curriculum-enhancing topics.  We would like to thank all chef involved for truly ‘walking the talk’ and actively doing something about the much-talked-about chef shortage.  This project has taken a grass-roots approach to inspiring the next generation and has so far seen Hywel Jones and the team at Lucknam Park, Roux Scholar Paul O’Neill (Berwick Lodge), Jack Cook (Walter Rose & Sons) and Chef Martin Baker going into Weston College and working with the learners to enhance their skills and inspire them to thrive in the industry as they have done.

Take a look…

Hywel Jones and the studentsThis project has been so well-received by the colleges and students alike that The Chefs’ Forum will launch a second Academy at Gloucestershire College in January 2017 with the same great chefs taking their expertise to another fantastic  South West College.  The launch event on the 30th January will see local employers and local schools attend to really promote the work we are doing to key influencers for the next generation.  The participating chefs and experts are also offering work experience to students at both colleges, which is a real coup for the staff and students in boosting and maintaining employer relations.

Another great feat for The Chefs’ Forum is the launch of The Chefs’ Forum Educational Foundation CIC.  Our work with the colleges has shown us that it’s all very well arranging work experience at fantastic properties with great chefs; however, we have to make sure that the students can access these opportunities and have the necessary funding and equipment to do so.  We will be holding a series of fund-raising events throughout the year to generate money to help students meet these costs so they can concentrate on getting the most out of the opportunity offered to them.

Finally, building on the success of The Chefs’ Forum so far, we are delighted to announce that we’re gearing up for the launch of The Chefs’ Forum in Birmingham & Midlands at University College Birmingham on the 20th February 2017.  This will give us more of a national industry presence and we are very much looking forward to launching in such a vibrant city, boasting no less than five Michelin-starred restaurants!!

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the colleges, HIT Training, hospitality employers and industry suppliers that have made The Chefs’ Forum what it is today.  We wish you all a magical Christmas and all the best for the New Year.

Catherine Farinha & Alexandra Duncan