Top Chefs Cooked to Support the Next Generation at University College Birmingham

The Chefs’ Forum was delighted to return to University College Birmingham on the 30th September 2019 for another culinary star-studded lunch to raise funds for the next generation of hospitality professionals.  Now an annual event, The Chefs’ Forum industry networking organisation returned to the highly acclaimed college for the third time to stage a Chefs’ Lunch in aid of The Chefs’ Forum Educational Foundation which raised an impressive £2,000 to support young chefs and hospitality professionals.

The Chefs’ Forum Educational Foundation was incorporated in 2016 to raised vital funds for 14-25-year olds entering the industry.  The funds are accessible to college lecturers and employers on behalf of young people and eligible applicants considered on a case by case basis.  To date, funds have been used to pay for coaches and minibuses to facilitate travel for young people to key industry career events and work experience placements. Vital equipment such as chefs’ knives and uniform has also been given to young people in cMark Walsh and studentolleges all over the country.  The Chefs’ Forum doesn’t want a lack of money to get in the way of high-achieving young people stepping onto the career ladder within the hospitality industry.

Chefs’ Forum Founder Catherine Farinha stated

“Five years after launching The Chefs’ Forum in 2011, Alexandra Duncan and I launched The Chefs’ Forum Educational Foundation to help colleges access work experience opportunities for students.  We are delighted to support high-performing students who may be experiencing hardship through no fault of their own with travel costs, driving lessons, equipment provision or work-related expenses.  One day, we hope all of the young people we help will be hugely successful employers in their own right if we give them a bit of help when they most need it, which is now, at the start of their careers.  We are so grateful to the Birmingham chefs for raising £2,000 towards this crucial cause, further demonstrating their utmost support for the Stewart Mackienext generation of hospitality professionals!”

Stewart Mackie from Harvey Nichols, Freelance chef, Tom Wells, Mark Walsh of The Forest Hotel and Olivier Briault of The Edgbaston Boutique Hotel all worked with the UCB students to produce a magnificent banquet for the top chefs who attended.

Stuart opened the show with a fabulous starter of Walter Rose Chicken and Rabbit Terrine, beautifully presented and perfectly executTom Wellsed.

Next was a fish course of Pan roasted fillet of cod, broccoli, radish, pickled kohlrabi, with dill and smoked butter sauce being served at the table by the brilliant Front of house team, led by Foodservice Hospitality Lecturers Liz Stratton and Jacquie Boyd and Mitchell Huckett, Restaurant Manager of Edgbaston Boutique Hotel.

On the main course was Mark Walsh, Head Chef of The Forest Hotel as he showcased slow cooked NMark Walshorton’s Pork Collar from Walter Rose & Son, roasted butternut squash, sweetcorn puree, charred baby corn and pork jus.

Olivier Briault, Head Chef at The Edgbaston Boutique Hotel finished off the perfect lunch with a magical dessert of Exotic Fruit Rum Baba. Perfectly presented to Michelin standards – The room fell silent in awe as Olivier explained the inspiration behind the Polish-French fruit cake decorated with highly-complex confectionary and executed to the highest stOlivierandard!

This event signified a huge event in the Birmingham Hospitality industry, a bringing-together of the very best professionals in the business to inspire and enthuse the next generation of chefs and hospitality professionals at what has been described by Marco Pierre White as the “Ferrari of catering colleges!”  The college of food has benefited through annual refurbishment and upgrades to ensure that it remains a state of the art facility.

The Brasserie Restaurant at the University proved the perfect venue and the front of house team were impeccably skilled

Neil Rippington, Dean of The College of Food and Hospitality Management at University College Birmingham stated

“The teaching team and I werNeil Rippingtone delighted to host this fund-raising lunch.  It was great to see so many enthusiastic chefs and market-leading suppliers in attendance today.  The students greatly enjoyed working with such high calibre chefs and welcoming BBC Birmingham into their training kitchens to film for the local news. We look forward to hosting an annual lunch for The Chefs’ Forum Educational Foundation for many years to come. We are proud to have established UCB as a hub for The Chefs’ Forum in Birmingham and its quarterly events offer fantastic opportunity for our students to work with a wide spectrum of high-profile local employers”.

Olivier Briault, Head Chef at Edgbaston Boutique Hotel added

 “It is great to work with the young people at the college.  I want to show them that we are very approachable and that a job as a chef in an award-winning, high-end restaurant like The Edgbaston is absolutely achievable!  The team of students working with me today were very talented and had a great attitude.  Based on their performance today I would love to welcome them into my kitchen for work experience.”

Each chef and Mitchell from Edgbaston Boutique Hotel had to pick a ‘Star of the DaFront of house studenty’, the student who, for them, shone brightly in terms of both ability and attitude.

The appointed stars each received a signed cookery book by either Garima Poder (current Masters Degree student at UCB) or David Pearce (Chefs’ Forum Photographer) and a day’s work experience with their mentor.  The winners were as follows:

Mitchell Huckett, Edgbaston Boutique Hotel FOH: Jordache Crawford-Brown

Stuart Mackie, Harvey Nichols: Evan Holiday

Tom Wells, Freelance Chef: Henry Chapman

Olivier Briault, Edgbaston Boutique Hotel: Ellie Perkins

The lunch was a huge success and overwhelming positive feedback was received from all involved.

The Chefs’ Forum holds quarterly events in Birmingham and any chefs or front of house professionals wishing to get involved should contact

Photography by