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The Chefs’ Forum delivered an interactive School Taster Day on Wednesday 16th June 2021 alongside the teaching staff at Bath College and accompanied by some of the industry’s leading chefs.

 

Catherine Farinha, Founder of The Chefs’ Forum, welcomed the students, schools, and all participants to the taster event with George Dorrity, student liaison and events officer at Bath College. It was great for the students to meet George so they could learn more about his role, future events and how he can help them when visiting the college. Watch the taster day here.

 

Each week, The Chefs’ Forum arranges top local chefs to teach the students at Bath College. This has been virtual throughout the pandemic; however, guest lecturer chefs will return to live, face-to-face teaching sessions in the next few weeks.

Sue Hudd, Curriculum Manager – Media, Production & Service Industries at Bath College, welcomed the participants to the event and Chef Lecturer Stephen Wesley introduced the students to the Hospitality and Catering department, providing an overview of course options and outlining the opportunities for students to enrol onto study programmes at a variety of levels.

Stephen Bywater, Chef Lecturer at Bath College said

“It is great to see so many prospective students joining us for the event today and a great opportunity for them to meet top chefs and see what they can expect when they join the college. We are very grateful to The Chefs’ Forum and the guest chefs for the excellent demos and produce showcases. It was very interesting to see Lovejoys HQ and learn about Valrhona chocolate. We look forward to welcoming all students to the college this September.”

 

In advance of the taster day, school students in the schools were provided with samples of fresh strawberries, figs and blueberries, generously donated by local produce supplier Lovejoys, as well as three varieties of single-plantation chocolate supplied by Valrhona. This enabled the students to try the base ingredients featuring in the exciting demonstrations they were about to view.

Ben Mortimer from Lovejoys then gave us a virtual tour of his warehouse, produce and chillers. It was great to see the seasonal produce that was destined for chefs’ kitchens all across Bath and the surrounding area.

After the introductions and meeting Lovejoys, the students headed to the kitchens of Rupert Taylor at Bowood Hotel and Michael where they each prepared a dish to camera. Michael Nizzero took us through a delightful creation of his dish of shortcrust pastry, blueberry mousse & coulis. Michael spoke of the importance of high quality, local and seasonal produce. He also mentioned how the considered treatment of fine ingredients can result in beautiful, elegant, yet simple dishes.

Michael went on to emphasise the importance of learning from everybody and everything in the professional kitchen, he said

“It is very important to listen and learn from every chef you work with, even if you already know what you are being taught, never say that you know as every chef will do things a little differently and you can learn from all of them”.

The dessert looked stunning, and Michael had a very jealous audience as he tucked in to test out his own creation.

 

We then flew virtually to Rupert Taylor, Executive Chef at Bowood Hotel & Spa who gave us a tour of his busy kitchens. Rupert showcased the various sections and introduced us to his brigade of chefs. It was great for the budding young chefs to see the atmosphere and family environment of a real kitchen in a high-end operation.

Rupert invited all participants to visit whenever they like, which was a lovely gesture. He then created a baked fig dish with honey & goat’s cheese bruschetta.

After a short break, we were back with two more demonstrations by Jauca Catlain, Executive Chef at The Bath Priory and Laurian Veaudour, winner of the Bake-off: The Professionals 2020. Both chefs created desserts – Jauca, Strawberries & Red Pepper Posset and Laurian, Valrhona chocolate and hazelnut brownie with chocolate and whipped ganache. It was great to chat to Jauca who, as a former professional footballer, likened working in a kitchen to players in a football match.

“Everyone relies on each other during service. We have to work together as a team. Spending lots of time together makes it feel like a real family environment. It is my mission to regain a Michelin star for The Bath Priory, as I helped contribute to the last star gained here. I would tell any young chef that this is an amazing industry and that it is a really great career option. I would love to give a tour of The Bath Priory to the students if they want to visit and have a look around The Bath Priory.”

Michael Nizzero was the former Executive Chef at The Bath Priory and really loved catching up with the kitchen team, he added

“How great to be able to share some knowledge and insight into our wonderful industry, especially as we come out of this unprecedented year. Full credit to The Chefs’ Forum for facilitating this great initiative. I hope the students enjoyed as much as I did.”

 

The final demonstration was provided by Chef, Laurian Veaudour (Bake Off: The Professionals Winner 2020). Laurian hosted a chocolate tasting of three chocolates from Valrhona, France, one of the world’s leading single-plantation chocolate producers. The students shared their views on which style of chocolate they preferred, while Laurian produced an exquisite Valrhona Chocolate & Hazelnut Brownie with a Chocolate Whipped Ganache.

At the end of his demonstration, Laurian concluded:

“It was such a pleasure to be a part of the taster day. It is great to be able to inspire the new generation of chefs and bakers around the country, especially with the wonderful produce with can find on our doorstep.”

 

It’s such a shame we couldn’t try all the dishes and products, however, recipes cards were sent to the schools for everyone to try at their leisure. We hope the taster day inspired the students and teachers to try making the recipes at school or perhaps having a at home!

 

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