Top Lunch Goes South

The Chefs’ Forum London lunch to launch The Chefs’ Knowledge went south – in the best possible way!

100 invited guests, including top chefs, suppliers and restauranteurs from the capital sat down at D&D’s South Place Hotel and dug into some serious food and drink on Monday.

Alex Thiel and Rob Grist from The German Gymnasium designed the starter and fish course. Dan Moon took on the main course challenge with the students from West London College and South Place pastry chef Nelson Barros Sa completed the ensemble with the dessert.

A specially installed Klima dry ageing fridge was brought in to make the Aussie Beef & Lamb just right and a Bloomkube enabled the chefs to get fresh cress courtesy of seeds from Koppert Cress.

UK Country Manager for Koppert Cress, Franck Pontais was on hand to expertly pair cresses and microgreens with the menu.

Outstanding seafood from Royal Greenland, fruit purées from Boiron and the inimitable Foie Royale completed the ingredient showcase.

Danny Burns, Executive Chef at Lodge Catering said

“I was delighted to see RGP’s (Royal Greenland Prawns) on display at the event.  These are the finest cold water prawns on the market and I’ve used them for the past 20 years and wouldn’t use anything else.  If you ask a fish supplier for frozen prawns, you could get anything sent to you.  If you stipulate RGP, then your supplier knows you demand the highest quality.  The cod was also excellent and Rob’s dish was outstanding for me.  It was also great to catch-up with some of London’s finest chefs!”

Wines were kindly sponsored by Brown Brothers who showed off their Innocent Bystander Pinot Gris and a Brown Brothers Winemakers Special Shiraz.

Steve Snow, Managing Director of MCS Technical Products had a great time at the lunch, he said

“It was great to showcase our Klima dry aging cabinet, packed with Aussie beef to the chefs.  We are working very closely with Meat & Livestock Australia to educate chefs on the process of dry aging meat on site.  We were also really happy to meet Valentina Maschio, Head Chef at Gordon Ramsay in Harrods, who uses our FlashGRILL in her busy kitchen, often cooking 500 covers per service.

CookTek induction hobs were also very popular with the guests who attended.

I must just say how very impressed I was with the students cooking and serving at the event from West London College.  They were extremely well-presented and professional, and this is a great sign of things to come for the industry – Huge congratulations to all!”

Students from West London College were both in the kitchen and serving front of house to help out and gain valuable experience of a large function at the highest level.

“It couldn’t have gone any better,” said Catherine Farinha, Director of The Chefs’ Forum. “We are really rocking and rolling now. The collaboration with D&D London, the amazing ingredients, the calibre of the chefs. We’re taking these events to another level now at the same time as working with local colleges to provide outstanding experiences for the next generation.”

Denise Charles, Head of Hospitality & Catering at West London College said: “I thought the Chefs’ Forum lunches were good but this was taking it up a notch. It’s so great for our students to not only get access to kitchens like this but also to taste the food and ask questions. This is what our Chefs’ Forum Academy is all about.”

Nelson Barros Sa, Executive Pastry Chef at South Place said: “As a showcase for the group this lunch was a runaway success. The venue, some of our best chefs and the quality of the ingredients made this a pleasure to design and host. many thanks to The Chefs’ Forum for all their hard work in making this happen.”

The menu in full:

Amuse bouche – Dan Moon (Development Chef at Foie Royale) – Foie Royale tartlet with tomato and onion

Starter – Rob Grist (Head Chef at German Gymnasium) – Cured Aussie lamb rump, avocado, date mousse, vine confit tomato and lemon vinaigrette

Fish course – Alex Thiel (Executive Chef at German Gymnasium) – Royal Greenland seared cod, Royal Greenland prawn crust, dill, cucumber, San Marzano tomato and horseradish sauce

Main course – Dan Moon and the students from West London College – Roast Aussie sirloin of beef, Roscoff onion, pearl barley, spiced carrot and Abruzzo Tartufi truffle

Dessert – Nelson Barros Sa (Executive Pastry Chef at South Place) – Peanut butter and Boiron yuzu vacherin

Zakaria El Rhzari, UK Sales Area Manager at Les Vergers Boiron said

“Nelson’s dessert showcasing our yuzu purée was out of this world.  We are delighted to be the choice of top pastry chefs in 93 countries and the chefs we met today backed this up.

It was amazing to be able to talk to Bake Off: The Professionals judge Cherish Finden and network with the cream of London’s culinary and pastry talent – We had a brilliant day!”

Continuing the pastry theme, Mitchell & Cooper got the chefs excited with the new KitchenAid Heavy Duty, only released last week.

Cherish Finden said

“The food was absolutely delicious, and I thoroughly enjoyed the flavours and presentation. 

Moreover, I was impressed by the attentiveness of the students and the impeccable organisation of the entire event. It was evident that a lot of effort and planning went into making the occasion a success.”