Tipis & Toadstools at Backwell House

Glorious sunshine glistening on rolling green fields provided a stunning backdrop for the Chefs’ Forum event on Monday the 2nd October, held in a tipi at Backwell House. The cream of Bristol, Bath and Somerset’s top chefs and catering students gathered alongside local producers and suppliers for a meeting of minds, knowledge swapping and a general culinary catch-up! Headline Sponsor, Bristol Audi installed a stunning car display showcasing the latest models.

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Guests were welcomed by The Chefs’ Forum Founder Catherine Farinha and Guy Williams creator of the impressive venture that has become one of the finest luxury boutique hotels in the Bristol area.  Guy told chefs of the huge success and acquisition of accolades in a relatively short period of time since opening in July last year.

CanapesA delicious canape and fizz reception was served with the students of Weston College and a HIT Training learner working fabulously together to produce a stunning array of savoury canapes showcasing Ross’ menu including an ox cheek bon bon with a crab bisque pipette, charcoal macaroons with a duck parfait centre and a cod fritter.

Head Chef Ross overseeing studentsRoss Hunter has recently taught in Weston College within the hugely successful Chefs’ Forum Academy initiative which sees professional chefs visit the college and join lectures as an industry expert.  Ross received great feedback from students and lecturers alike and has this week offered a position to one of the young chefs he met through working with the college – A fantastic result for all involved.

Guy Williams was very impressed with the professionalism of the front of house students working on the day and said he would be delighted to offer further positions to the learners.

Guy commented:

“The Weston College kitchen and front of house students were fantastic today.  I was particularly impressed by one young student who expertly talked me through the ingredients and provenance of a varied plate of cPaul from Walter Rose butchersanapes. To see such skill at this age really impressed me and I would be very happy to talk to the college further about work experience as well as recruitment of its students once they have finished their courses.”

The attending chefs were then treated to a trio of demos: beef butchery by Paul Underwood of Walter Rose and Son and then a double act by Backwell House Head Chef Ross Hunter and James Gordon of Bear’s Kitchen, fellow chef and friend from his school days!

Duck deom dishOx cheek and sirloin demo dishThe two young chefs held the tough audience, made of their peers, as they showcased fabulous ingredients supplied by Arthur David Food with Service, Water Rose & Son and Creed Food service, all of whom support The Chefs’ Forum in facilitating these compelling quarterly events to taking place.

Sam from Clifton CoffeeSam McCuaig of Clifton Coffee then showcased his delicious E1 project coffee and beautiful afternoon tea canapés made by students, including passion fruit macaroons, beetroot marshmallows and chocolate orange truffles. This set everyone up for the forage that was about to take place in the stunning grounds of Backwell House.

Expert forager, David Harrison led the chefs and hospitality students on an inspirational tour of the beautiful grounds and hedgerows of the country house to discover a bounty of flora and fauna that can be incorporated into fine cuisine menus.

David Harrison ForagerDavid said:

“As exclusive forager to Torquay-based Michelin-starred Chef Simon Hulstone, I really enjoyed visiting virgin territory in Backwell and teaching the local chefs about various species and their appearance.  It was also great to hear that Ross Hunter will incorporate them into his menus!”

The Chefs’ Forum launched in Bristol at Berwick Lodge in January 2012 and has since expanded to include highly accredited chefs, catering colleges and top suppliers on a near national level, now holding 36 events a year across nine regions.

Catherine Farinha, Founder of The Chefs’ Forum and event organiser stated:

“We are so lucky to have such a naturally beautiful venue like this on our doorstep.  The Chefs, most of whom were on their only day off, relished the opportunity to meet with their peers, network and find out about the provenance of the meat and fresh produce donated by suppliers for use in canapés and demos.  I am delighted that Ross has managed to recruit a young chef from the college as a result of lecturing there within The Chefs’ Forum Academy – A fantastic result.

She continued:

 “Today’s forage was a great end to the day as it is very important to educate chefs as to the perils of foraging and the importance of being well-informed.

Photography by: www.fayditphotography.com