Willy Wonka met Mary Poppins at West London College Taster Day!
200 West London school students were treated to a free fun day out at West London College as the latest taster day from The Chefs’ Forum Academy highlighted hospitality. Both Willy Wonka and Mary Poppins were gleefully represented by chef Jesse Dunford Wood who created a special dessert to open the new Taylor UK Gelato kitchen at the college and inspire the next generation of chefs!
In a new direction there was a cookery demonstration by TikTok and Instagram sensation Poppy Cooks who created a special potato recipe. Poppy O Toole, a former chef, has reached over 2m followers on social media and made her first appearance on Saturday Kitchen over the weekend.
Billed as an insight into the world of hospitality the students were treated to:
- A canapé and mocktail reception
- A brilliant live performance of The Chefs’ Forum’s own taster day theme tune by Manchester artist Lowkeylimit, accompanied by break dancers Kit Sells and Mikey Hook-Tappin
- A dessert-making masterclass – Jesse Dunford Wood
- A talk and demonstration by a leading social media influencer Poppy O’Toole – fresh from her appearance on Saturday Kitchen
- Redefine Meat New-Meat burgers
- A ravioli masterclass – Michael Dutnall from the RAF Club
- A sushi masterclass and student sushi rolling competition by sushi master Keiko Urakawa
“It was a fantastic day,” said Chefs’ Forum director Catherine Farinha. “We were thrilled at the line up and they didn’t disappoint. Jesse’s dessert wowed the students and it was so exciting to inaugurate the new Taylor UK Gelato Kitchen with flavours of vanilla, strawberry cheesecake, raspberry ripple, passion fruit, chocolate and caramel and mint choc chip making an appearance.”
Denise Charles, Head of Curriculum at West London College, said: “When you have a line up like we did it is easy to demonstrate to potential students what a fun world hospitality is. And to bring in a social media star was a master stroke by The Chefs’ Forum Academy. Poppy Cooks was brilliant and she just resonated with the students – they could understand her and relate to her.
“And then there were the other brilliant demos by Michael Dutnall and Keiko Urakawa which just topped it all off.”
Denise’s students catered and served all of the canapes, Redefine Meat™ burgers and mocktails to over 200 students from 10 feeder schools. Chef Lecturer Bob Carruthers also organized the kitchens with military precision, so the food kept coming throughout the event.
David Rees from Taylor UK said: “We are delighted to be instrumental in furthering the education of students in the new Gelato Kitchen. It’s a no-brainier when you get feedback like this. How wonderful it was to see homage being paid to both Mary Poppins and Willy Wonka, all in one dessert. Priceless.”
Jesse Dunford Wood said: “The quality of the ice cream in the Taylor UK ice-cream machine was excellent and made my dessert idea come alive. It was great fun.”
Poppy O’Toole said: “It was a pleasure to come and give a demonstration to these amazing students. It wasn’t that long ago that I was in their position, and I heartily recommend a career in hospitality – it really is fun.”
Photography credit: Alec Seaman | Film credit: Alex Ryland-Jones