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City of Bristol College students with chefs from Bristol and Weston-super-Mare
| Categories: Facilities, News, Students

Top Chefs Reinforce Vital College Links with Demo and Dine event at City of Bristol College!

The Chefs’ Forum was launched with City of Bristol College eight years ago. It was great to be back where it all began at the College Green Centre, where top Bristol chefs gathered at the college for a fantastic Demo and Dine event working with hospitality and catering students.

Saravanan Nambirajan (The Mint Room), Dan Bowden (Berwick Lodge), Sam Elliott (Pasture) and Dave Newman and James Baker from The Ginger Pig, all worked together to produce a stunning four course meal for the chefs and front of house professionals who attended.

Dan from Berwick Lodge leading a demonstration with a City of Bristol College student.
Dan from Berwick Lodge leading a demonstration with a City of Bristol College student.

The event took the format of ‘Demo and Dine’, in that each chef worked with the students to produce sample bowls of their demo dish. The front of house students then served the sample bowls to the audience of local employers who were extremely impressed.

The menu comprised:

  • Starter – Grilled Soya Chops (The Mint Room)
  • Fish – Scallops, Black Pudding and Orange (Berwick Lodge)
  • Meat – Steak and Chips (Pasture)
  • Dessert – Ginger Pig’s Sticky Toffee Pudding (The Ginger Pig)

The Chefs’ Forum is all about various chefs and front of house experts coming into colleges up and down the country to give a compelling and inspirational masterclass throughout the academic year, culminating in work experience opportunities at the participating properties and businesses.

Saravanan Nambirajan working with a student to create the starter.
Saravanan Nambirajan working with a student to create the starter.

Saravanan Nambirajan from the nationally-acclaimed Mint Room said: “The students have worked extremely well today in the kitchen with me and all of the other chefs who have taken part.  It’s great to have performed a live cookery demo for The Chefs’ Forum. I was very impressed with the level of professionalism and positivity shown by the students today in asking lots of questions. City of Bristol College is a very well-run college, headed-up by a team of talented lecturers who gave me a very warm welcome. I would happily welcome any of the students to The Mint Room or Bandook on work experience based on their excellent performance today.”

Chef Lecturer Ryan Fernandes has been very active in supporting quarterly Chefs’ Forum events over the last eight years, ensuring the students know the importance of putting themselves forward to raise their individual profiles to prospective employers.

Ryan Fernandes commented: “Chefs’ Forum is a stage which brings the hospitality gurus together to share the current trends in all aspects related to food and service and also to network with talented people in the industry. We as a College are always involved with the Chefs’ Forum as it exposes our students to the professional world they hope to build their careers in. It also helps the future generation of chefs to work with some talented and passionate chefs from the industry and, at times, secure work experience or part-time work after the event. It also helps us to build our network with businesses which are looking to work with us on a different level which focuses on student engagements through apprenticeships and so on.”

The move to bring local chefs and experts into the college to work with the students serves to galvanise existing relationships with local employers and further-reinforce industry links for the college.

Dave and James from The Ginger Pig working with Ahmed Ali Bekhit on dessert.
Dave and James from The Ginger Pig working with Ahmed Ali Bekhit on dessert.

Level 2 Culinary Skills student Ahmed Ali Bekhit worked with Dave and James from The Ginger Pig.  They were so impressed that they offered him a trial shift at their newly-launched restaurant in Weston-super-Mare.

Dave and James, who recently opened their restaurant in Weston’s Grove Village near The Playhouse Theatre on 23 January 2020, said: “It will be great to have Ahmed for work experience, not only are we local to him but we are also one of the only restaurants around which do proper food and it is good to give something back. Chefs’ Forum gives us the opportunity to give a little bit back to the students, we were all there once upon a time and, hopefully for them, it is inspiring to look at people like us all working in major cities and restaurants. Some of the students are nervous but they are really enthusiastic and are really good.”

Chefs’ Forum Founder Catherine Farinha commented: “Today’s event was a great success. It was fantastic to welcome such esteemed chefs to the college today.  It was great to be back at City of Bristol College where our journey began eight years ago.  The Chefs’ Forum prides itself on sharing industry knowledge and best practice in catering colleges and The Chefs’ Forum Academy ensures top chefs continue to pass on their skills to the next generation, inspiring young chefs.”

Sam Elliot from Pasture showing a student how to create the main.
Sam Elliot from Pasture showing a student how to create the main.

For more information on how to get involved with Chefs’ Forum events, please contact rebecca@redcherry.uk.com or to start your cooking career by signing up for one of City of Bristol College’s many Catering and Hospitality courses at www.cityofbristol.ac.uk

Photography by www.jcampbellphotography.co.uk