Top Chefs Continue to Inspire Young Chefs Through Lockdown #2!

Gurpreet Singh Dham is the Executive Sous Chef at London’s Royal Lancaster Hotel.  He has been working with The Chefs’ Forum to continue to deliver curriculum enrichment sessions while restrictions remain in place.

As we head into lockdown two and restaurants are set to close their doors, it is crucial that The Chefs’ Forum Academy maintains strong links with employers, so that students can continue to learn from the very best in the business and forge relationships to aid work experience and apprenticeship placements once they are able to learn off campus once more.

The Chefs’ Forum Academy has arranged for chefs to dial into a virtual lecture every teaching week as the sessions have been filmed in a pre-record some weeks ago – This was excellent planning and fortunate with the latest announcement of a full national lockdown from tomorrow.

The Chefs’ Forum will continue to deliver weekly masterclasses across five catering colleges: The Manchester College, Bath College, Coleg Gwent, Pembrokeshire College and West London College.

Below is the film that will be shown to students at West London College on the 8th December.  They will recreate the dish from a recipe card and Gurpreet will join them to assess via video link.

Gurpreet chose to prepare a rack of pork cooked sous vide for his Chefs’ Forum Academy masterclass which will be screened for students at West London College later this year. But what was really noteworthy about his dish was what he paired the pork with.

The popular and increasingly influential chef chose to make a porridge out of millet as his accompaniment and the final dish is a perfect representation of who he is as a chef. And that is what, we believe, makes The Chefs’ Forum Academy so special and so useful for colleges and students.

The Chefs’ Forum Academy is all about bringing together leading chefs and aspiring students so that the chefs can demonstrate what they have learned in the industry and the students can learn what will be expected of them when they graduate.

Over the course of this year this relationship between industry chef and college student has taken on a new meaning with lockdown preventing chefs from actually attending classes. This has not prevented the chefs from continuing to reach out and teach remotely.

Millet porridge is not an accompaniment that you would expect for a pork dish at a venue such as The Royal Lancaster Hotel but that is what makes Gurpreet Dham such an interesting chef. He successfully marries his native India with a western, classical, approach to cooking.

“I wasn’t interested in Indian cuisine when I started working as a chef,” he explains in his masterclass. “I was more interested in classical cooking and I came to the UK to learn it. However, when I got here and was working in hotels in and around Birmingham I saw that what was being offered as Indian food was not what I knew it to be. From that moment on I started to use the techniques I knew from home in my everyday cooking. And that is still as strong with me as when I started.

“Millet is an underrated ingredient but a very important one. It is low glycaemic and healthy and using it with pork, which is traditionally on the fattier side, lightens the dish. Millet is also a bland ingredient that takes spice and seasoning and allows you to use it as a canvas for flavours.

“In this case I used a base of garlic, shallot and ginger with cumin and garam masala to add a light spice to the dish. Alongside the pork, the jus and some pan-roasted carrot and purple beetroot the millet makes the dish lighter and healthier.

“I like to sous vide the pork on the bone, making sure to cover the bones with foil so they don’t puncture the bag, because it can be dry and the long slow cooking makes it soft and juicy.”

Yesterday saw Bake-off: The Professionals 2020 winner Laurian Veaudor join students at Pembrokeshire College to deliver a virtual masterclass.  His recipe of white chocolate choux pastry was very well-received. Laurian is also Chef Proprietor at Coco Rico Patisserie in Cardiff.

Rebecca Saunders organises and coordinates Chefs’ Forum Academy masterclasses across all five colleges,  she said

“Laurian was fantastic with the students, giving constructive feedback to them throughout the session.  It is so great to see how much the students enjoy the sessions and I was really impressed with their versions of his dish.  As we head into Lockdown 2, I am confident that we have created ample content to carry our colleges through.”

“I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the chefs who are taking part in our employer engagement initiative and emphasis how crucial it is to have this resource for teaching staff and students alike.”

“It is also great for the chefs to be able to maintain contact with the students and colleges as they face another month out of their professional kitchens. The Chefs’ Forum Academy is such a positive platform, which enables chefs to give back to industry and inspire the next generation.”

Any chefs or colleges wishing to know more about The Chefs’ Forum Academy should contact