The Chefs’ Forum held a four-course Chefs’ Lunch for sixty guests at Cornwall College on Monday (21) November. The ‘Pay What You Can’ event showcasing top Cornish chefs generated £750 to kick start new Industry CIC, The Chefs’ Forum Educational Foundation, incorporated by The Chefs’ Forum Founder Catherine Farinha and Alexandra Duncan last month to support young people making their way in the hospitality industry.
The Chefs’ Forum elected to stage a ‘Pay What You Can’ event in order to give all Cornish chefs the chance to sample the very best in local cooking, at a price they could afford whilst making as much money for The Chefs’ Forum Educational Foundation as possible. It was also a fantastic opportunity for Cornwall College students to work with professional chefs in industry and the food produced was outstanding.
Through its work with colleges and education providers over the last six years, The Chefs’ Forum has learnt that there are some funds available through student welfare for essential equipment and resources in order for learners to complete their qualification e.g. uniforms, knives, transport etc. However, these funding pots are ever-shrinking year on year and finite, in that when all the money has been allocated, there is none left to deal with emergencies throughout the year.
A further issue is that Student Support Funds in colleges are means-tested, meaning some deserving young people who do not qualify for these funds find themselves in situations during their study where they struggle financially.
The lunch at Cornwall College raised £750 to contribute to this cause and was the first of many fund-raising initiatives to be staged by The Chefs’ Forum Educational Foundation to generate valuable funds to help young people in the Hospitality industry.
The newly decorated Brea Café at Cornwall College was the perfect space to hold the event, large enough to hold a mini trade show for members of the Cornish hospitality industry as well as a banquet-style lunch for them to come together and support the next generation as well as each other and browse the very best in produce and equipment.
Nine tables were laid up to the highest standard in Brea, all named after seasonal fish. The lunch enabled Cornish hospitality employers, chef and suppliers to trade to network, whilst enjoying some of the very best local cookery in four delicious courses cooked by top Cornish chefs, helped by Cornwall College students.
Cornwall Life Awards Chef of The Year, Arty Williams of The Cove in Maenporth cooked a delicious starter of scallops, saffron & chervil cream and crispy Cornish sea spaghetti.
2AA Rosette Chef Nick Hodges of The Greenbank Hotel then impressed industry guests with his rolled fillet of lemon sole, sea trout and samphire, shellfish broth, lobster, crab, mussels and clams.
Award-winning 2AA Rosette Chef Parton Anton Buttery of Langmans restaurant then showcased Two Brothers belly pork with fennel, mixed cabbages and roots, crackling and apple. Anton’s dish was hearty and delicious and very warming on what was one of the wettest days of the year so far!
What’s On Cornwall Awards ‘Best Chef in Cornwall’ Ken Symons, Chef Patron of Oliver’s Restaurant in Falmouth served the perfect finale to a day of excellent cooking with his famous Chocolate caramel bar, fennel and peanut. The County-renowned, yet down to earth and kind-hearted chef told the guests about his plans for a ’12 chefs, 12 nights’ charity fundraising project and his impressive goal to raise £20,000 for charity to run from 9th January-27th March. The Chefs’ Forum guests all promised to buy tickets and if today’s generosity was any anything to go by, Ken’s target should be smashed by the great industry people of Cornwall. Full details will be available on www.oliversfalmouth.com by the end of the week.
Phil Oakes, Chef Lecturer at Cornwall College said: “Today’s Chefs’ Lunch was a fantastic experience for the students and I think they have done exceedingly well – It was a real privilege for them to work with such talented chefs from across the County and a fabulous opportunity for the students to showcase their skills to local employers. Anton Buttery has offered to come back to the college during our Industry Week this January to work with our learners, which is a real coup for the college and a great result from today’s fundraising lunch.”
Curriculum Lead for Hospitality, Grant Mather, reinforced Phil’s comments:“Events like this are crucial for the college. I’m sure the visiting chefs would have been impressed with the students at the college and may well have eyes on their next commis chef! The College would welcome applications from chefs and industry experts wishing to come in and work with the students during industry week in the first week of January. The Chefs’ Forum supports the college in an extremely positive way, specifically in terms of bridging communications between education and industry.”
The Chefs’ Forum sponsors including Total Produce, Kingfisher Brixham, Two Brothers Foods and Koppert Cress all donated ingredients for the lunch, driving down the food cost, allowing The Chefs’ Forum to raise vital funds for young people in industry.
Catherine Farinha, Founder of The Chefs’ Forum concluded: “The Chefs’ Forum Educational Foundation was well and truly launched today and it was humbling to see such a show of support from Cornish Industry people and Cornwall College. It is great that The Chefs’ Forum can use its industry links to provide a safety-net to learners in terms of financial support, career opportunities and equipment. I am proud to say that the money raised by today’s Chefs’ Lunch will go towards helping those in need. This lunch was a fabulous chance for current and future chefs and front of house professionals to witness first-hand, industry-leading cookery and first class service where cost was not an obstacle to them doing so. We are delighted to announce that we now welcome applications for support from colleges and education providers.”