30th September 2019
On Monday 16th September, four of Devon’s most highly-skilled chefs teamed up with The Chefs’ Forum to help young people from South Devon College serve up a mouth-watering meal for 60 extremely discerning diners in one of the leading catering colleges in the country. Nearly £2000 was raised to support young people with travel costs, accessing work experience, essential equipment, and helping colleges to fund employer trips, visits, and feeder school travel to college events.
The Chefs’ Forum serves to bridge the gap between education and industry and inspiring young chefs and front-of-house professionals. Not only does it stage 42 events per year across 10 geographical regions, but it now organises and manages an intensive programme of curriculum enrichment via The Chefs’ Forum Academy.
South Devon College opened up its teaching kitchens and Horizons Restaurant to the cream of the culinary profession to host a fundraising lunch for The Chefs’ Forum Educational Foundation CIC – An organisation incorporated by Catherine Farinha and Alexandra Duncan in October 2016 to raise vital funds to help disadvantaged young people to enter the hospitality business, by linking them up with employers and providing essential support and equipment.
In hosting the lunch, South Devon College underlined its commitment to the initiative in inspiring young chefs, enriching their learning and forging strong links with leading employers within the industry.
Mentoring the College students on the day were Tom Browning (Lewtrenchard Manor) on the amuse bouche of Baked cod loin with Kc Caviar and Oyster Emulsion, Richard Still (Deerpark Hotel) on the starter of Walter Rose Creedy Carver Duck Breast, salt baked celeriac, duck fat and pistachio dukkah, whipped goats curd, blackberries and chervil oil, Craig Davies (Paschoe House) on the fish course of Brill, mussel curry, clams, seaweed potatoes and samphire, Ankur Biswas (BRNC Dartmouth) on the main course of Malai Murgh with Walter Rose chicken, showcasing his own brand of Namoh Curry Sauce. Tom Browning created the dessert of autumnal plum bavarois, honey, vanilla and yoghurt.
The front of house students also did a fantastic job of table lay-up and wine, lunch and coffee service led by front of house lecturer Dave Wells.
The menu was absolutely delicious with the chefs all showcasing signature dishes to their professional peers as well as the students.
Codorníu Anna cava was served as a welcome drink as guests networked and spoke to top suppliers in a mini trade show. Cordoníu also sponsored the wines served with the lunch; White Rioja Viura-Malvasia 2018 and Red Vina Pomal Rioja Reserva 2014 – A delicious accompaniment to the excellent dishes served by the guest chefs.
A welcome speech was made by South Devon College Principal and CEO at South Devon College Laurence Frewin and Chefs’ Forum Founder Catherine Farinha. Laurence spoke of the importance of the College and local employers working together to support this vital sector and thanked the guests for attending the Chefs’ Lunch.
“It is fantastic to welcome so many local employers and renowned chefs here to our college today. Inspirational events and experiences such as today’s chefs’ lunch with The Chefs’ Forum are a key part of our focus on apprenticeships and careers, not just courses.
“Employability, exposure to industry and work-readiness is a crucial element that sits alongside traditional class-based studies at our College. Working hand in hand with industry partners who offer unrivalled, career focused work placements is an ongoing priority for us – and is something we are proud to offer to our students.
“For our students to be able to work alongside some of the most exciting and highly respected chefs in the county is an amazing opportunity and one that will truly inspire them to become the next generation of culinary creatives and hospitality professionals.”
As guests were seated, John Addey of Yorkshire-based Kc Caviar told the guests about the fabulous ethical, British, sustainable caviar to which they were about to be treated in the amuse bouche by Tom Browning.
Tom Browning was really impressed by Kc Caviar and Foie Royale, two ethical, sustainable alternatives to traditional caviar and foie gras.
“I like the way that The Chefs’ Forum is championing sustainable ingredients and it has been fantastic to develop today’s canapes and dishes with the samples I received from both Kc Caviar and Foie Royale prior to the event. I was also very impressed with the students today and have really enjoyed my time here at the college. I would happily welcome work experience candidates into my kitchen based on their performance today. I very much look forward to continuing to work with the college and The Chefs’ Forum.”
All ingredients and drinks for the lunch were kindly sponsored by Koppert Cress, Total Produce, Foie Royale, Kc Caviar, Walter Rose & Son, Ritter Courivaud and Santa Maria. This vital sponsorship drives down the food cost and maximised funds raised on the day, nearly £2000 on this occasion which is very impressive indeed.
The event further-benefited from a silent auction on the day, raising over £900 of the total. Auction lots were kindly donated by Dinner, Bed & Breakfast at Dart Marina Hotel & Spa, David Pipe Horse Racing Stable Tour and Race Tickets for four, Dinner Bed & Breakfast at Lewtrenchard Manor and Artis UK in the form of a world-class chefs’ Tramontina Centuary Knife Roll. All lots were bid on and later sold to the generous guests who attended the lunch and The Chefs’ Forum Educational Foundation will greatly benefit from this kind support.
Together, the chefs and students created and served a four-course meal for around sixty professionals from the catering industry who were all there to get in touch with the next generation of talent whilst catching up with their peers and suppliers.
Mark Provan, Chef Lecturer stated:
“Today has been an amazing experience for our students. They love to work with different chefs and learning new cooking techniques. The food was superb and it was a great opportunity to showcase our students’ professionalism and skills. I would like to thank The Chefs’ Forum for making today a great success and inspiring our students.”
Catherine Farinha, Chefs’ Forum Founder added:
“We have been working with Mark and South Devon College for six years now. It is great to have so many fantastic chefs here today with the common purpose of enriching students’ learning. It is fantastic to return to the College for the second time to stage a lunch event with another new cohort of students and the next generation of top chefs. The chefs and students did a fantastic job today, they really stepped up to the task and it’s so important that we nurture and support the next generations of hospitality professionals. It’s important they have the opportunity to work with industry on the practical side, as well as on theory. For the students who took part today, this event was an excellent opportunity to build on important networks and partnerships in the hospitality and catering industry.”
Photography by www.andrewplantphotography.com