Top Welsh chefs go back to The Classroom at Cardiff and Vale College

The Chefs’ Forum staged ‘A Chefs’ Lunch’ at Cardiff and Vale College on Monday (13) February.  Hospitality students at the College had the opportunity to learn from industry experts as they welcomed chefs from Purple Poppadom, St David’s Hotel and Restaurant James Sommerin.

The Chefs’ Forum holds a culinary convention in Wales each quarter and is proud to showcase students from Cardiff and Vale College working front of house and in the kitchen at a variety of leading operations, under renowned local chefs and hospitality experts.

Anande George with StudentsThe event was a fantastic opportunity to showcase the College’s critically acclaimed facility and demonstrate why it is carving out a great reputation for Welsh culinary excellence. The College has won a string of accolades including an AA Rosette for The Classroom Restaurant, which is now a finalist in the prestigious Cardiff Life Awards for ‘Best Restaurant’.  Earlier this year student Amy Hoskins, 21, came twelfth out of fifty competing countries in worldwide college cookery competition, the International Young Chef Olympiad which took place in India.

James Sommerin with StudentsThe learners worked in the kitchen with top local chefs to serve a delicious four course lunch for more than 60 culinary experts. The chefs mentoring the students were Anand George (Purple Poppadom), Martyn Watkins (St David’s Hotel & Spa) and James Sommerin (Restaurant James Sommerin). The ‘pay what you can’ lunch raised an impressive £900 in donations made to The Chefs’ Forum Educational Foundation, a means-tested fund to help disadvantaged students aged 14-25 make their way in the hospitality industry.

CAVC Principal Kay Martin gave a welcome speech to the guests and spoke of her passion for the industry and why events like these are very good in inspiring young people.

Martyn Watkins with studentsKay explained that the world-class facilities at the college are just part of her vision to make the learners truly work-ready and that the whole facility is now a Centre of Excellence with gold standard accreditation for its hospitality programme, awarded by People First, the skills sector council.

Kay stated: “We like to offer our students a ‘real not realistic’ learning experience in working within a fully operational business, open to the general public six days a week.  Our learners are accustomed to working with industry-leading equipment.”

Deputy Head of Hospitality, Eric Couturier supported Kay’s inspirational speech on the College, saying: “It is superb to welcome Anand George, Martyn Watkins and James Sommerin to the college. I am delighted that they gave up their time to inspire our learners and impart their knowledge and experience onto them.  Today has been a fantastic networking opportunity for all involved in the culinary industry of Wales.”

Starter by Anande GeorgeFish course by Martyn WatkinsThe Chefs’ Forum Founder Catherine Farinha introduced the chefs to the industry guests and invited them to introduce each course and talk about their experience in working with the students to produce each dish.

Michelin-starred chef James Sommerin concluded: “Today has been amazing. I would happily welcome Cardiff and Vale learners into my kitchen based on their impressive performance today.  It was really pleasing to see them attempt and conquer some complex cooking Meat course by The StudentsDessert by James Sommerintechniques that may well have been out of their comfort zone.”

The next Chefs’ Forum event will take place at Restaurant James Sommerin on the 24th April 2017, where James will invite his fellow chefs and the learners to see his Michelin star restaurant and offer them the chance to work with his top-drawer team and sample more of his stunning food.  Any chef interested in attending should contact The Chefs’ Forum.

Photography by