Next generation of chefs inspired at launch of Chefs’ Forum Academy
Gloucestershire College was filled with the delicious aromas yesterday as top chefs and food exhibitors from the South-West gathered to launch the Chefs’ Forum Academy – a new collaboration with The Chefs’ Forum to train the top chefs of the future.
A guest list of industry representatives, local schools and stakeholders gathered in the Cheltenham event, where they were treated to hand-crafted canapés, made by GC Professional Chef students under the guidance of guest chefs, including Michelin-starred Hywel Jones.
An afternoon of live demonstrations followed; the first combining the talents of Walter Rose butcher, Jack Cook and Head Chef at Bristol’s Berwick Lodge, Paul O’Neill, who created a tea-smoked duck and pickled orange gel salad. Fishmonger, Darren Whelan of Kingfisher Brixham, also wowed the audience with a skilled fish filleting display, from which Lucknam Park chef Dean Westcar prepared a dish of pan fried turbot with leeks.
Paul O’Neill said: “I really enjoy working with the students, it is really rewarding to see them implementing their own ideas and philosophy into menus. It is great to teach them about seasonality and different flavour combinations – they are a very talented group.”
Chef Lecturer and Chefs’ Forum Academy Coordinator Mark Hyde-Catton said: “Today’s launch event was a great success. It was really beneficial for the students to work alongside the Michelin-starred Lucknam Park team and it was fantastic to work again with Roux Scholar Paul O’Neill, who came in for a masterclass with our students last week.
“Working with such high-calibre chefs gives our students the confidence to interact with industry chefs when they leave college. The Chefs’ Forum Academy brings students new skills, new products and vital exposure to great chefs. This in turn enhances their education to bring them a more cohesive learning experience.”
The event also featured a mini trade show of food industry exhibitors, including Gloucestershire-based wholefood supplier, Creed; fruit and vegetable wholesaler Arthur David and IDS catering equipment.
Founder of the Chefs’ Forum, Catherine Farinha, said: “It was very encouraging to see such a show of strength in support for the Chefs’ Forum Academy at Gloucestershire College.
“Our chef members really want to work with students at the College and have demonstrated their commitment to inspiring the next generation in attending today’s launch event and offering to teach the students.
“We are delighted to be working with such a fantastic college and look forward to working together to hone the skills of the next generation of top chefs.”
Level 3 Professional Chef student, Anna Wise said: “I’ve really enjoyed the Chefs’ Forum Academy sessions so far, especially when Paul O’Neill taught us how to put a menu together using our own ideas.
“I was inspired by my grandparents to take up cooking and it’s become my passion, so I’m delighted to be working towards becoming a professional chef.”
Sian Heath, who is in her second year on the course said: “Today has been a great experience. I was part of the team making savoury and sweet canapés in the kitchen, then afterwards I got to come out into the event and watch the chefs we’re going to be working with in the Academy in action, which was really exciting.”
The launch took place in the recently refurbished Number One Restaurant at the College’s Cheltenham Campus, which is staffed by catering and hospitality students, who serve-up hand-made meals and light bites to the public on Tuesday to Friday lunchtimes.
From this month, the Chefs’ Forum Academy will be integrated into full-time catering courses at Gloucestershire College, to compliment the training students receive by expert teaching staff in the College’s professional kitchens. To find out more about catering and hospitality courses at Gloucestershire College visit: www.gloscol.ac.uk/catering