Welsh Chefs enjoyed Gastronomy and Golf at Cottrell Park

Top chefs from across Wales came together to enjoy an afternoon of gastronomy and golf at the latest meeting of The Chefs’ Forum on Monday (April 25).

Students from Cardiff and Vale College and NPTC GroupHeld at the charming Cottrell Park Golf Resort in the Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales the event gave Welsh culinary talent the chance to network and meet leading suppliers whilst giving hospitality and catering students from Cardiff and Vale College and NPTC Group the opportunity to work in a professional kitchen and run front of house at this prestigious industry event.

Megan from Cardiff and Vale CollegeMeg Flanaghan (18), a level 3 student at Cardiff and Vale College was put forward to supervise the front of house team at the event as she currently works as a Hospitality Assistant in the Wales Millennium Centre.  Meg said: “Working this event today has been great as I had the opportunity to exercise leadership skills and was able to apply my experience learnt in College.  I plan to pursue a career in front of house management, so events like this are making me even more work-ready and certain that I want to do this as a career.  It is also fantastic to work with my peers at NPTC Group, comparing and contrasting our courses and experience so far.”

For the last twenty years, Cottrell Park has provided a world-class golfing venue, priding itself on excellence in facilities and customer service levels.

Family owned and operated by David and Johnathan Johns-Powell, whose grandfather purchased the historic estate in 1942, the resort appointed Spiros as in-house function caterers in the newly-refurbished marquee just over a year ago which proved a major success attracting rave reviews for its fine dining food offering.

Award-Winning Spiros Fine Dining Caterers designed and implemented a mouth-watering function menu at the resort.  Spiro and his team are working with The Chefs’ Forum to showcase careers in high-end event and venue catering to the students as a specialism within the industry.  Spiro has also pledged to offer jobs to the learners, both as work experience and full time when they qualify across all six sites.

The afternoon began with a welcome speech by The Chefs’ Forum Founder, Catherine Farinha, accompanied by host Spiro Borg, Managing Director and Executive Chef at Cardiff-based Spiros Caterers, Mandy Carter (Senior Lecturer at NPTC Group) and Darren Greenland, Hospitality Lecturer at Cardiff and Vale College.

NPTC Group Front of House studentA drinks reception with canapés then followed, prepared by Spiro Borg (Spiros Catering) with the help of the learners from the two colleges.

Spiro said: “It was a pleasure to have these young people working with me today, all of whom showed great potential. The food that they produced was excellent and I am proud to say that we worked hard as a team to produce it.  I would like to invite all students to work at my Big Fat Greek Dinner in aid of Cardiff’s Vilendre Cancer Centre on the 20th May”.

Robbie Lang NPTC GroupGabriel Claary Cardiff and Vale CollegeA Butchery demo by Colin Harries of Castell Howell then followed, showcasing ‘feather blade’ and ‘fillet’ cuts of Celtic Pride beef sourced from local farms, encouraging the visiting chefs to use it in their menus.

He then led the students in a butchery competition between the two colleges, where the butchery novices were tasked with boning a shoulder of pork.

The students who impressed Colin the most were Robbie Lang (18) of NPTC Group and Gabriel Claary (18) of Cardiff and Vale College, who both won a day’s work experience with him at Castell Howell’s cutting plant in Crosshands, Llanelli.

Cookery Demo by AntonioNext, Spiros Head Chef, Antonio Simone gave a cookery demonstration flash-frying Colin’s fillet and feather blade to show how tender it can be in its simplest form.

The event ended by giving guests the chance to show off their golfing talents on the resort’s golf course with a prize awarded to the chef nearest the pin on the driving range. The winning chef was Jerry Adams, Head Chef at The Swan Hotel in Hay-on-Wye who won Sunday lunch by Spiros in Merrick’s Restaurant situated within the resort and golf for four people.Golf Winner Jerry Adam

Catherine Farinha said: “It is great to hear so much positive feedback on the work of the students here today. The Chefs’ Forum is all about giving opportunities to the next generation of chefs and I think everyone would agree that today was a great opportunity for them.

“I would like to thank everyone for coming today, and especially our sponsors without whom these events would not be possible.  It is great that some top Welsh chefs attended today but we need more chefs and employers to show their support for the next generation in attending our quarterly events.  The next event will be on Monday 25th July with Douglas Willis Butchers at their farm near Cwmbran showcasing Welsh Black beef and I would urge any chefs wishing to attend to get in touch”.

Spiros Fine Dining Caterers is celebrating 33 years of successful business in the Cardiff area by opening his sixth site at Cornerstone in central Cardiff.  The site will serve as a training centre and will be an ideal work experience venue for the students.

Photography by Craig Howarth: www.seaaitch-photography.com