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Top Welsh Chefs Support Young Chefs in The Classroom (Y Dosbarth)

The Chefs’ Forum recently staged ‘A Chefs’ Lunch’ at Cardiff and Vale College.

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Hospitality students at the college had the opportunity to learn from industry experts as they welcomed chefs from Seren Diemwnt, Celtic Manor, Heaney’s Restaurant and St David’s Hotel.

The Chefs’ Form holds a culinary convention in Wales each quarter and is proud to showcase students from Cardiff and Vale College working front of house and in the kitchen at a variety of leading operations, under renowned local chefs and hospitality experts. The event was a fantastic opportunity to showcase the college’s world class facility and why it is carving a great reputation for Welsh culinary excellence. The College has won a string of accolades including an AA Rosette for The Classroom Restaurant, Best Restaurant in Cardiff Life and we are looking forward to being reaffirmed as a Centre of Excellence for Hospitality, Patisserie and Confectionery.

The students worked in the kitchen with top local chefs to serve a delicious four course lunch for over sixty culinary experts. The chefs mentoring the students were Gethin Rees (Seren Diemwnt), Simon Cockford (Celtic Manor), TV Chef Tommy Heaney (Heaney’s Restaurant), Martyn Watkins (St David’s Hotel and Spa). The ‘pay what you can’ lunch raised an impressive £685 in donations made to The Chefs’ Forum Educational Foundation, a means-tested fund to help disadvantaged students aged 14-25 make their way in the hospitality industry.

The menu produced by the chefs and students was truly outstanding and the room fell silent as each of the chefs came out to introduce their course to the guests.

Principal Kay Martin gave a welcome speech to the guests and spoke of her passion for the industry and why events like these are very good in inspiring young people, lessening the shortfall in chefs.  Kay has a hospitality background and trained at what is now University College, Birmingham. Kay explained that the world-class facilities at the college are just part of her vision to make the learners truly work-ready and that the whole facility is now a centre of excellence with gold standard accreditation for its hospitality programme, awarded by People First, the skills sector council.

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Kay said:

“We like to offer our students a ‘real not realistic’ learning experience in working within a fully operational business, open to the general public six days a week.  Our learners are accustomed to working with industry-leading equipment.  We have a great relationship with The Chefs’ Forum and events like this are great for our students.“

Deputy Head of Hospitality, Eric Couturier supported Kay’s inspiration speech on the college saying

“It is superb to welcome these chefs to the college  today.  I am delighted that they gave up their time to inspire our learners and impart their knowledge and experience onto them.  Today has been a fantastic networking opportunity for all involved in the culinary industry of Wales. As a result of today, one of our students has secured some weekend work with TV chef Tommy Heaney, which is a great result!”

The Chefs’ Forum Founder Catherine Farinha introduced the chefs to the industry guests and invited them to introduce each course and talk about their experience in working with the students to produce each dish.

Acclaimed Chef and avid supporter of The Chefs’ Forum Martyn Watkins concluded:

“Today has been amazing.  I regularly welcome Cardiff and Vale learners into my kitchen and their performance today has been nothing short of magnificent.  It was really pleasing to see them take on every task presented to them in such and enthusiastic fashion.   I have hosted two events for The Chefs Forum at St David’s Hotel and this is the second fund-raising lunch I’ve cooked for the Educational Foundation here at the college – It’s a very worthwhile initiative, rising vital funds for young chefs entering our industry”

The next Chefs’ Forum event will take place on the 4th March 2019.  Any chef interested in attending should contact The Chefs’ Forum.

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