The Chefs Were Going “Quackers” at the Latest Meeting of The Chefs’ Forum

Guests gathered in the impressive surroundings of Ston Easton Park on Monday February 15, for an afternoon of fun and food-fuelled capers.

canapesThe event began with a canapé and fizz reception and the chance for the visiting chefs and suppliers to network. All the food created by Ston Easton’s new Head Chef Martin Baker, with the help of students from Bath College and Gloucestershire College.

Student prepparing canapesMartin said: “The students were all fantastic. The passion and talent that they showed was brilliant, and with young people like this coming into the industry I am confident that the industry is not in the danger that people say that it is.”

Martin demoFollowing the reception Martin demonstrated one of the dishes from his menu – a starter of quail with textures of beetroot.

Students then went head to head in a competition to recreate the dish, with George Ormond and Ashley Anderson from Bath College being crowned the winners and each being awarded a MAC pro filleting knife, kindly donated by CCS.

George and Ashley Winners from Bath CollegeGeorge said: “The Chefs’ Forum events are a really good for us as students.

“They give us the opportunity to meet people who can help us in the future, and the experience of working with great chefs like Martin in their kitchens.”

Guests were then given a tour of the impeccably-kept walled gardens by gardener Dale Toten.

The gardens produce a range of produce which is used by the hotel, including apricots, quinces and root vegetables and alliums, as well as some more unusual crops like giant marrows and even loofahs!

Duck Racing The picturesque river then became the focus of the fun with a duck race. The ducks made slow progress at first, but gradually gathered speed with Neil Cooper from The Foxham Inn eventually being crowned the winner and being given a bottle of Wiltshire Liqueur Damson Vodka.Neil Cooper winner of duck racing awarded a bottle of Wiltshire Liqueur

The event finished with a Ston Easton afternoon tea. The sweet treats were accompanied by teas from Comins Tea House with Comins’ tea expert Haydn West selecting an Oolong and an Indian black tea to accompany the sweet treats.  Dorset-based Comins Tea will open its second tea shop in Bath’s famous Monmouth Street next month.

Afternoon Tea Served by Gloucestershire College StudentsFor coffee-lovers there was also coffee provided by Easy Jose – The Pudding Club blend was described as ‘exquisite’ by Ston Easton’s General Manager, Mark Lammiman.

Founder of The Chefs’ Forum Catherine Farinha said: “This has been a brilliant event and its chefs like Martin who have supported us since the very early days that have made it possible.

“It is so important to us to have the support of chefs of his calibre, and of course, all the wonderful sponsors who provide the ingredients and the equipment for the demonstrations.

“It is great to see so many faces time after time and it makes me believe that we must be doing something right.

“We want to be able to keep giving the young talent the opportunity to go into kitchens and work Front of house so that we can secure the successful future of the hospitality industry.”

Photography by Andrew Plant: