Top Chefs Tour Award-winning Vineyard!
Monday 20th March saw The Chefs’ Forum gather at Hush Heath Estate to get an insight into its award-winning English wines and ciders. Top chefs and front of house professionals from across Kent, Sussex and London attended this quarter’s Kent Chefs’ Forum event to celebrate English wine at its best!
The day started with a hospitality industry networking session accompanied by Jake’s Orchard sparkling cider which made the guests see apples in an altogether more sophisticated light!
All ingredients were kindly sponsored by Wellocks, Koppert Cress, Salvatori Butchers, Brindisa and Direct Seafoods (Colchester).
The Chefs’ Forum Founder, Catherine Farinha welcomed the chefs to the event and introduced the duo of cookery demos which were to take place in the tasting marquee at the vineyard.
First of all, Fabio wowed the guests with his sea urchin, clam and prawn linguini. There’s nothing better that seeing fresh pasta being made with an Italian chef talking his cheffy audience through the composition of the dish – Sea urchin was a first for many, but a staple for Fabio in his native Sardinia. Cooking on Locher Induction from Cuisinequip and seafood supplied by Direct Seafoods Colchester, he showed the chefs how to achieve the perfect linguini and preparation and cooking of this deliciously spikey ingredient!
‘Today was all about showing our peers what we do and the passion in our food and our wine-making. We pride ourselves in using the best quality local produce and cooking and pairing with our very own wine. Our menus are crafted around the fantastic range of award-winning wines available from our very own winery. We feel is important to have satisfaction in the job you do when food looks and tastes great and the guests are happy, so are we.’
Next, Convotherm Development chef Keith Howland showcased the brilliant technology of the Convotherm combi oven, complete with ‘disappearing door’ for optimum kitchen space saving and intelligent cooking! Keith prepared a delicious confit duck dish showcasing the versatility of the oven and all of its market-leading features.
It was quite fitting that the WSET took the floor at this point and invited the chefs to suck a taste test strip to determine which of the culinary experts had the best palate. The results split the room and revealed a great deal about their ability to decipher various flavour notes and tastes.
The main event of the day was a tutored wine tasting by Hush Heath wine producer Richard Balfour-Lynn. Richard talked the Chefs’ Forum members through his various wines saying that here ‘We only make wine that we like to drink. Any wine we don’t sell, we drink.’
‘It is great to welcome members of The Chefs’ Forum to integrate wine with food. I am really pleased to be working with chefs and local suppliers to encourage food pairing and food matching. Events like these really showcase the growth of the English wine industry.’
Richard then took the culinary guests on a tour of his impressive winery. He walked the chefs and front of house professionals through the fascinating process behind the production of his award-winning wines, past enormous wine vats and bespoke bottling machines. Although the planned vineyard tour was slightly marred by drizzly English weather on the first day of spring, Richard insisted the guests return later in the season to see the beautiful vineyard at its best, encased by enchanting bluebell woods.
The Chefs’ Forum looks forward to showcasing Hush Heath wine at future events and encouraging more restaurants to list English wine as a serious accompaniment to great food!
Those wishing to visit Hush Heath to embark upon their own wine tour and tasting should email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the winery on 01622 832794.
Photography by www.manupalomeque.com