The Chefs’ Forum ‘Welsh Chapter’ Launch at Llangoed Hall was a Huge Success!

Monday the 23rd March 2015 saw over fifty top chefs from across Wales gather at the stunning Llangoed Hall in LLyswen,  Brecon, for and inspirational day of cookery demonstrations, knowledge-sharing and networking.  Students from NPTC Group Newtown Campus worked with Head Chef Nick Brodie to prepare and serve spectacular canapés for a tough audience of culinary experts and industry people.

NPTC Group Newtown College StudentsThere was an electric atmosphere at the first ever Chefs’ Forum event to be held in Wales as chefs relished the opportunity to meet their peers in a relaxed yet opulent environment to share knowledge and expertise.  Some chefs travelled hours from North Wales to attend this ground-breaking industry event.

Having launched four years ago in Bristol, popular demand meant that this well-renowned catering industry organisation has now launched across the Severn Bridge.

The Chefs’ Forum cross-pollinates the hospitality industry enabling chefs to talk to local suppliers, equipment manufacturers and catering colleges whilst creating employment opportunities for students.

Canapes prepared by Nick Brodie and StudentsThe event commenced with a terrific canapé and Nyetimber English Sparkling Wine reception where students created and served bite-sized delights from Nick Brodie’s Llangoed Hall menu:

L-R Sue Lloyd-Jones of NPTC Group and Catherine Farinha The Chefs' ForumThe canapés went down a storm and were a great prelude to the welcome speech delivered by Llangoed Hall Owner Calum Milne, Head Chef Nick Brodie, Chefs’ Forum Founder Catherine Farinha and College Head of School, Sue Lloyd-Jones (left).
The general consensus was that the students were a credit to their college and that they really maximised on the event.  Guests witnessed learners talking to employers and suppliers,  giving a very professional first impression.

Nick Brodie, Head Chef at Llangoed Hall commented:
“The Students were brilliant today and I really enjoyed hosting The Chefs’ Forum at Llangoed Hall.
I have overheard many positive conversations of chefs vowing to work with each other to refer students on between themselves to ensure they get work placements.  For me, today was a great opportunity to meet fellow chefs in person for the first time.”

Nick Brodie Pigeon DemonstrationNick's Dover Sole DemonstrationNick performed a duo of fabulous cookery demonstrations to his peers: Pigeon breast with bitter leaves and sprouting shoots, then Dover sole with brown shrimp cannelloni and puntarella.

Nick used a Clifton Food Range water bath to demonstrate sous-vide elements of the dishes and Cooktek Induction hobs to finish them.  These relatively modern cooking techniques will encourage chefs in industry to update skill sets and will no doubt inspire new recipes.  The students also benefit from seeing top chefs like Nick putting the principles that they are learning into practice.

Ingredients for the canapés and demos were donated by Chefs’ Forum sponsors Total Produce and Flying Fish. Morgans Butchers kindly supplied the meat.  Chefs’ Forum events are dependent on this much-valued support to stage events for the good of the industry.

James Smith of Puffin ProduceTotal Produce also arranged for James Smith of Puffin Produce to talk to the chefs about Welsh potato growers. James encouraged chefs to use more Pembrokeshire Early potatoes in their menus as a resurging and very tasty local species.

Nick Brodie and NPTC Group Newtown College StudentsThere was a great deal of positive feedback from students and staff at NPTC Group Newtown Campus. Speaking about her experience of the day, Mandy Carter, Senior Lecturer at the college said: “The Chefs’ Forum launch event went really well today.  It was a great opportunity for our students to work with the talented Nick Brodie and I was very impressed with the way that they networked with employers. We are very much looking forward to hosting the next event at our College and can’t wait to showcase our facility to the chefs.”

Chefs’ Forum Founder, Catherine Farinha concluded:
“We’ve had a fantastic experience from start to finish at Llangoed Hall. Nick Brodie and his team have been a joy to work with and a real inspiration to the students.  I have received a great deal of positive feedback from chefs and students alike which is extremely rewarding.  This has been a fabulous launch and I look forward to many more Welsh events as The Chefs’ Forum continues to flourish.”

Mary Ann Gilchrist and Nick BrodieThe Chefs’ Forum will hold quarterly events in Wales from now on.  The next event will take place at NPTC Group Newtown Campus on the Monday 29th June 2015.  This event will showcase butchery, ‘pasture to plate’ cookery and the unique ‘on-campus’ farm. This college teaches agriculture as well as catering and will be a great venue for the second Chefs’ Forum event to take place in Wales.

Chefs, suppliers or colleges interested in joining The Chefs’ Forum and attending events should contact Catherine Farinha on 07585 700030.

Photography by Craig Howarth: