Top Chefs Celebrate Newquay Surf and Bodmin Turf at The Headland Hotel

Famed for the filming of Roald Dahl’s ‘The Witches’, The Headland Hotel and the dramatic and stunning Newquay coastline formed the backdrop for The Chefs’ Forum’s Newquay Surf and Bodmin Turf event at The Headland Hotel on Monday (29) April.

Top Cornish chefs, Cornish suppliers and Hospitality students from both Cornwall College and Truro & Penwith College gathered for a celebration of Cornish food, hosted by The Headland’s Executive Chef Chris Archambault.

Cornwall College studentsChris with Truro and Penwith College StudentsChris has been working with The Chefs’ Forum for the past six years to inspire the next generation across the South West. He hosted the Devon Launch of The Chefs’ Forum in April 2014 at Southernhay House (Exeter) and he then hosted a subsequent event at The Headland Hotel in 2016.

The aim of the day at The Headland was to encourage top Cornish chefs to showcase local and foraged produce in their menus with Chris Archambault and Sous Chef Dan Hyams showcasing dishes from their tantalising menu, which does just that!

Students from Cornwall College and Truro & Penwith got the opportunity to show off their culinary skills, working alongside Chris and his talented brigade to create beautiful canapés incorporating top-drawer Cornish produce for the culinary experts who attended.

Chris laid-on a fantastic canape menu of beef shin with pico de gallo and guacamole, devilled eggs, squid with a crab roulade, raspberry macarons and churros with chocolate sauce.

Fish for thought demoLocal fish supplier Fish for Thought opened the show with a brilliant multi-species fish filleting demonstration by Matt Jorey. Matt ‘canoed’ a gurnard and filleted a plaice as well as a huge cod sourced from the Shetland Isles to allow Cornish stocks to recover.

Director Paul Trudgian said

“At Fish for Though, we pride ourselves on only supplying sustainable species and educate chefs to buy sustainable fish with no plastic or polystyrene packaging.  If we all do our bit to reduce plastics and conserve fish stocks in our oceans, then together we can make a change.”

A student filleting competition then followed with Cornwall College and Truro and Penwith College going knife-to-knife to create the neatest fillets from a whole farmed sea bass.

Holly - Winner of filleting compLevel three student, Hope Webster beat off all of the competition to win a day at Fish for Thought for a day-long filleting course.

She said

“My brother’s a butcher, so knife skills must run in the family! I really enjoyed my time working with Chris and the team at The Headland and the highlight of the day had to be winning the filleting competition – I’m really looking forward to learning more on my course!”

Sam Guarino, ‘F.O.O.D.I.E & Spice Nerd’ at Santa Maria maintained the sustainability theme, explaining that Santa Maria now use recyclable packaging for all of their products, minimising plastics, whilst maintaining optimum flavour.  Sam offered to visit the chefs in their own restaurants to showcase the full range of market-leading herbs and spices.  He also invited them to board the legendary spice truck, a rSanta Mariaegular and popular feature at Chefs’ Forum events.

Gavin Roberts from Wadebridge-based Two Brothers Foods then followed with a fantastic pork butchery demonstration, breaking down a pork rib, creating perfect chops, a rack of French-trimmed ribs and a pork tomahawk.

Gavin also showcased the quality of his produce in a BBQ cooked on the terrace– The chefs devoured the succulent burgers and haute Gavin butchery demodogs in Baker Tom’s bread rolls and baps and Gavin became the most popular kid at the party!

Chris Archambault and Dan Hyams then performed two fantastic cookery demonstrations of his signature dishes – Cornish Lobster with squid and blood orange, then a perfectly-cooked cod portion with the skin on in in a cool pan, dressed with freshly foraged sea spinach and samphire, peas and beans.

Chris saidChris demo

“Chefs walk in here all the time saying that they can cook portions of fish with the skin on.  If I don’t see them using a cool pan to start with, I know they don’t really know how to cook fish.  I was taught this technique by Marco Pierre White’s chefs in London and its something that I pass on to every chef that joins my brigade.  Butter is then added at the end and a lovely crunchy sandpaper-like crispy skin is achieved – The only way to cook fish with skin on in my book!”

Cod demo dishAt the end of the demo, the audience was invited to come and taste Chris’ wonderful dishes, which they very much enjoyed – Chris received a great deal of praise for his beautifully-presented plates of Cornish food!

The Chefs’ Forum stages quarterly events to enhance top chefs’ skill sets and strengthen links with local catering colleges to inspire and enthuse the next generation of young chefs.

Chris Archambault stated:

“I was extremely impressed with the students’ performance – It is extremely important that they get experience like this whilst studying. It’s vital to keep our young chefs in the industry as hospitality makes up the largest employment sector here in Cornwall.”

Catherine Farinha, concluded:

“The Chefs’ Forum aims to enhance the skill sets of top chefs in industry and students through showcasing the latest techniques being used in industry – This time it was Newquay Surf and Bodmin Turf, all from the fair county of Kernow – We love doing events here in Cornwall, it was great to see the first Tregassow asparagus from Total Produce and fantastic to learn how to fillet and cook the perfect fish dish in a cold pan with Chris.  We look forward to two more events in the county in 2019.”

Josh Foley from Fish for Thought TV captured the day perfectly: