Istvan Ulmann cooks food as he presents to an audience
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Catering students and top Bristol chefs enjoyed a forage at Berwick Lodge

Bristol, Bath and Somerset’s top chefs and City of Bristol College’s catering students gathered alongside local producers and suppliers for a meeting of minds, knowledge swapping and a general culinary catch-up at the latest Chefs’ Forum event. 

The Chefs’ Forum was held at Berwick Lodge where guests were welcomed by The Chefs’ Forum Founder Catherine Farinha who explained that the day was a celebration of seven years since The Chefs’ Forum launched in February 2012. A very nostalgic event for The Chefs’ Forum Team!

City of Bristol College’s catering students and head chef, Istvan Ulmann, welcomed guests with a beautiful menu of canapés. Istvan teaches in The Chefs’ Forum Academy and regularly takes on apprentices from City of Bristol College at Berwick Lodge.

Istvan was very impressed with the professionalism of the professional cookery students working on the day and said he would be delighted to offer further positions to the learners.

Istvan commented: “The City of Bristol College students were fantastic today. To see such skill at this age really impressed me and I would be very happy to talk to the college further about work experience as well as recruitment of its students once they have finished their courses.”

Expert butchers Jack Cook and Alex Byrne of Walter Rose & Son then performed a brilliant lamb butchery demonstration, breaking down a whole lamb carcass. Jack explained to the chefs that they source locally as much as possible, but as lamb is seasonal, sometimes they have to source from further afield.

Jack demonstrated choice cuts like ‘Barnsley chops’ which have made a comeback, best end, rump, shank, leg and rack of lamb. He then showcased how to make the most from certain cuts on menus.

Paul Trudgian of Fish for Thought then introduced his Cornish sustainable fish company to the Bristol chefs. He explained that there are certain species that he just won’t sell as they are not sustainable, a great step in the right direction for the industry in taking advise from the Marine Stewardship Council.

Next was Istvan’s brilliant cookery demo of lamb sweetbread with watercress and a goat’s curd potato croquette and braised baby gem lettuce. Istvan plated-up the delicious dish for the chefs to try and they were all extremely impressed.

The chefs were then introduced to the Santa Maria Spice Truck that was parked outside Berwick Lodge. The purpose-built spice lab was parked outside the entrance of Berwick Lodge so chefs could hop aboard and see the fabulous range of provenance-led herbs and spices on offer. The spice truck was to spend the night at Berwick Lodge and their chefs to participate in a spice masterclass the following day as part of the extensive employee CPD programme implemented by Owner Sarah Arikan and the team.

Expert forager, David Harrison led the chefs and hospitality students on an inspirational tour of the beautiful grounds, adjacent field and hedgerows of Berwick Lodge, to discover a bounty of flora and fauna that can be incorporated into fine cuisine menus.

David said:“As exclusive forager to Torquay-based Michelin-starred Chef Simon Hulstone, I really enjoyed visiting the beautiful grounds at Berwick Lodge and teaching the local chefs about various species and their appearance.”

The Chefs’ Forum launched in Bristol at Berwick Lodge in January 2012 and has since expanded to include highly accredited chefs, catering colleges and top suppliers on a near national level, now holding 38 events a year across ten regions.

Catherine Farinha, Founder of The Chefs’ Forum and event organiser stated:“We are so lucky to have such a naturally beautiful venue like this on our doorstep. The Chefs, most of whom were on their only day off, relished the opportunity to meet with their peers, network and find out about the provenance of the meat and fresh produce donated by suppliers for use in canapés and demos. I am delighted that Istvan enjoyed working with the students today and that he is a much-valued member within the teaching team of guest lecturers at The Chefs’ Forum Academy.

She continued: “Today’s forage was a great end to the day as it is very important to educate chefs as to the perils of foraging and the importance of being well-informed.

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