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

The Chefs’ Forum launched its Birmingham & Midlands Chapter at University College Birmingham on the 20th February 2017.  Almost a year later, the industry networking organisation returned to the highly acclaimed college on the 15th January to stage a Chefs’ Lunch in aid of The Chefs’ Forum Educational Foundation which raised an impressive £1500 to support young chefs and hospitality professionals.

The Chefs’ Forum Educational Foundation was incorporated in 2016 to raise 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 colleges 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 £1500 towards this crucial cause, further demonstrating their utmost support for the next generation of hospitality professionals!”

CHEFSMichelin-starred chefs Luke Tipping and Leo Kattou of Simpsons Restaurant, Masterchef: Professionals finalist 2017, Louisa Ellis (The Wilderness), Mark Walsh (Opus Restaurant), UCB Graduate, Angelina Adamo of The Park Restaurant by Adam Jackson 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.

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, led by Foodservice Hospitality Lecturers Liz Stratton and Jacquie Boyd.

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

“The teaching team and I were 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 including Masterchef: The Professionals 2017 finalists Louisa and Leo who they recently watched and followed on television. 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 a fantastic opportunity for our students to work with a wide spectrum of high-profile local employers”.

Louisa StarterThe brigade of acclaimed chefs cooked a fantastic four course lunch comprising of a Brindisa Spanish Fine Foods Sharing Platter to start, then Louisa Ellis’ fantastic starter of Cauliflower, sponsored by Oliver Kay Produce.

The 22-year-old CDP from The Wilderness won the hearts of the nation as she impressed the Masterchef judges Gregg Wallace, Monica Galetti and Marcus Waring with her fantastic skillset and ability which took her all the way to the final.  The comments from her peers on her Cauliflower starter were hugely complimentary, again proving that she has a bright future ahead of her, further emphasised by the fact that she has recently secured stages with some of the nation’s leading chefs.

Louisa said:

“Working with the students at UCB was inspiring, it reminded me of how passionate I was at their age and still am!  I was inspired to use one ingredient (cauliflower) and turn it into something interesting.  It was a vegetarian dish, but I managed to bring different flavours and textures to the plate – Roasting cauliflower completely changes the texture!”

Louisa worked with the students to make roasted cauliflower florets, caramelised cauliflower puree and pickled slices of cauliflower. The cauliflower scraps left over were used to make couscous.  Louisa mixed yeast flakes into the couscous to give it a slightly nutty and cheesy flavour – A very clever dish indeed!

Mark Fish CourseNext was Mark Walsh’s Fish Course of Halibut, Jerusalem artichoke puree, kohlrabi, salt baked celeriac and swede, cockle, apples, chicken vinaigrette, tarragon. This complex dish, sponsored by Marr Fish was a real hit with the industry guests and the flavours worked perfectly together to make an excellent plate of food. Mark invited ex-UCB student, Angelina Adamo (19) who previously worked at Harvey Nichols with him into the kitchen to produce his stunning fish dish.

Michelin-starred Simpsons Restaurant cooked the main course of Pork rib eye, smoked trout, pumpkin and leek. The dining chefs were highly impressed with this dish anSimpsons Meat Coursed the Wiltshire pork supplied by Chefs’ Forum Sponsor and multi-award-winning butcher Walter Rose & Son.

Luke Tipping, Executive Chef at Michelin-starred Simpsons Restaurant (Edgbaston) and his Masterchef: The Professionals quarterfinalist Leo, both relished the opportunity to cook the main course with the young chefs at the college.

Luke said:

“It is great to work with the young people at the college.  I want to show them that we are very approachable and that as a result of a successful trial shift, a job as a chef in a Michelin-starred is absolutely achievable.  I was delighted to invite one of the guests at todays event for a trial shift later this week!  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 to Simpsons on work experience.”

Olivier DessertDessert was created by Olivier Briault, talented pastry chef at The Edgbaston Boutique Hotel.  Olivier presented the guests with a decadent creamy dark chocolate with a crunchy hazelnut base, blood orange segments and spicy cognac ice cream.  The room fell silent apart from a chorus of ‘mmmm’s, ooooh’s and ahhhh’s’ as guests devoured Olivier’s wondrous creation sponsored by E. Sidwell.

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

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