Wrexham United!

7 feeder schools sent students for a taster day at Coleg Cambria in Wrexham on Monday and everyone got a full look at what a life in hospitality has to offer. Level 1 college students also took part in the special morning, showcasing The Chefs’ Forum Academy at the college.

Vice Principal of Technical Studies, Victoria Edwards and Curriculum Director for Visitor Economy Natalie Cliffe welcomed the schoolchildren to the college and told them about the wonderful array of courses on offer in Hospitality and Catering.

Martin Thomas, Assistant Principle for Technical Studies said

“Coleg Cambria was delighted to host this event, which has allowed us to highlight the valuable connections we have established with employers through The Chefs’ Forum Academy, we launched in September last year. Our students have greatly benefited from the expertise and guidance of the visiting chefs, who have greatly contributed to enhancing our learners’ knowledge and skills development through the weekly masterclasses. The visiting schools enjoyed the taster day, and we have received positive feedback from both teaching staff and their students. We hope to further our partnership with The Chefs’ Forum Academy and organise similar events in the future.”

Nearly 200 young guests from year 10 all enjoyed a canapé and mocktail reception prepared and service by the students and guest chefs:

Mocktail: Wrexham Sunrise

National Chef of Wales 2024 Joshua Morris from Palé Hall kicked off proceedings with the help of level 3 Professional Cookery student, Tom Brookfield.

Joshua and Tom cooked a fantastic dish of pan roasted seabass, with poached mussels, saffron mussel cream, pak choi and chilli salad.

Tom told the audience how much he was enjoying his course at Coleg Cambria and that he gets paid to work in the world class iâl Restaurant situated on campus at weekends.

Joshua was so impressed with Tom’s skills that he offered him a trial shift at Palé Hall, a luxury five star hotel in Snowdonia with a green Michelin star for excellence in sustainability and food.

Joshua said

“All of the produce we use at Palé Hall is sustainable and it’s great to be able to tell the guests where each ingredient comes from.  I never thought I would win National Chef of Wales as I felt there were so many chefs in the final who were stronger than me, it was a wonderful surprise and I am overjoyed.

It is wonderful to be here today supporting the next generation of chefs and hospitality professionals.”

This was followed by an interactive cookery demo by Chef Jordan Barnes. Student Callum Pritchard, Year 10, Ysgol Morgan Lloyd was invited up onto the stage to try his hand at cooking and Jordan was also very impressed.

He said

“I really enjoy teaching in this college, it’s always great fun and the students clearly get so much out of it.  It is so important to stage events like today’s Taster Day to really champion the industry and all of the exciting opportunities it can offer.  It is great to see so many young people engaged in the demos and so keen to participate and taste the food produced.”

Callum won a voucher for CKBK and a £25 voucher for dinner for two in the college restaurant in recognition of him joining Jordan on stage to represent his school – Well done Callum!

Catherine Farinha, Director of The Chefs’ Forum, said: “We had a great time in Wrexham. The College was buzzing and the students had a really good time. I love these events. They are a great way of introducing school students to catering and hospitality and their smiles and enthusiasm are so refreshing.”

The demos were punctuated by brilliant live performances by Manchester rapper Lowkeylimit (chef Exose’s brother and breakdancer and krumper, Kits Sells and Vincent Maduabueke (both dressed as chefs obviously to add to the theatre).

Jason Pumfrey, Joint Manager at Dole Foodservice Anglesea then gave a fantastic talk on seasonal fruit and veg and we played a guessing game for the students to correctly identify butternut squash, celeriac and physalis – We gave out samples of all and the students really enjoyed them.

Exose finished the show with a fabulous éclair filling and decorating demonstration, showcasing his wonderful skills, creating a trio of eclairs:

Exose said

“I really enjoy these events, especially working with such talented students in the college.  I have taught in many different colleges with The Chefs’ Forum Academy and regularly support on a variety of events and marketing activities for various food and equipment brands with the team.  The work we do is unique and the best bit about it is seeing students securing work opportunities on the back of events and college masterclasses with The Chefs’ Forum.  I myself have employed a student from West London College after seeing his talent at The Game Fair last summer, where we worked with Celebrity Chef James Martin.  I can’t wait to welcome students from Cambria College into my kitchen at Ikaro to join him!”

All of the schools competed against each other in pairs to produce a winning éclair of their own, aiming for perfect filling and decoration.  All of the guest chefs then judged a first, second and third, who all won a voucher for a meal at the college restaurant and a year’s subscription to CKBK, an online library of over 850 cookery books.

First place:
Charlton Taylor and Cai Roberts from Ysgol Glan Clwyd

Second place:
Lolo Jones and James Grindley from Rhosnesni High School

Third place:
Ruby-May Walker and Sam Jones from Ysgol Morgan Llwyd

Any chefs wishing to get involved with The Chefs’ Forum Academy at Coleg Cambria or any of our other Chefs’ Forum Academy colleges across the UK should contact brogen@redcherry.uk.com