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Chefs go foraging at the manor

24 April 2018

Foraging has been popular for some years now, and professional chefs’ enthusiasm for gathering food from wild and natural places is only increasing. On Monday 16 April, 40 top chefs from Birmingham, along with GC Lecturer Mark Hyde-Catton and hospitality and catering students, flocked to a fascinating forage led by wild food expert David Harrison.

The event was hosted by husband and wife culinary team, Mark and Sue Stinchcombe. The couple have a tremendous hall of foodie accolades between them; Mark won Masterchef: The Professionals in 2015 and Sue has multiple awards under her belt including Worcestershire Chef of The Year, an Acorn Award and a MAC Award.

The gastronomic gathering commenced with a canapé and fizz reception where Mark, Sue and GC students prepared and served a stunning array of bite-sized morsels for the culinary guests.

Lecturer Mark Hyde-Catton joined Chefs’ Forum Founder, Catherine Farinha, in welcoming the guests and talked them through all of the successes achieved in securing work placements for the students through The Chefs’ Forum Academy.

Mark said: “Events like these are brilliant for our students. Working with such high level, accomplished chefs as Mark and Sue was very inspirational for them. Our Level 3 students said that they really enjoyed this event as they got to do lots of work both in the kitchen and front of house.  The Chefs’ Forum helps them forge relationships with employers and is a very valuable platform for them to secure work experience and job offers.”

Demo chef Claire Mansfield joined forces with Jack Cook of Walter Rose & Son to showcase the award-winning Synergy Grill; Jack showcasing his butchery skills and Claire cooking the various cuts of top quality Stokes Marsh Farm beef and Cameron Naughton’s multi-award-winning pork. 

Mark and Sue then joined forces to showcase one of their signature dishes; loin of venison, confit suede, hispi cabbage and pumpkin seeds. 

Mark said: “The students were excellent today – It’s the first time we have worked with Gloucestershire College and we were very impressed.”

Sue added: “We were delighted to see so many girls in the kitchen today – I cannot wait to further our relationship with the college in teaching in The Chefs’ Forum Academy.”

The culinary experts then went on a tour of Eckington Manor’s grounds, learning to find and identify the abundance of edible plants, seeds, nuts, flowers and fungi that grow wild in the beautiful Cotswolds countryside. The event was a great chance for chefs to learn about foraging for their menus and the copious amount of amazing wild ingredients growing all around them.  

Catherine Farinha, Chefs’ Forum Founder and event organiser concluded: “Eckington Manor was the perfect venue to hold an unusual and absorbing day of butchery grilling and foraging.  It is great to see that the chefs are so keen on foraging and trying new cooking techniques with wild ingredients. Chefs’ Forum events provide a great opportunity for them all to meet up, touch base and share expertise and see the best products and produce available to them."

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