The Chefs’ Forum: a brand new networking group for Bristol chefs

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Chris Wicks and Josh Eggleton led top chefs from Bristol in joining forces with local catering colleges to back a new Chefs’ Forum. This launched with a ‘meeting of minds’ from industry and education on the 23rd Jan at luxury boutique hotel Berwick Lodge.

Acclaimed chef and local food hero Chris Wicks (Chef Owner of the famous Bell’s Diner & Executive Chef at Berwick Lodge) and Josh Eggleton, Chef Owner of the Michelin-Starred Pony and Trap, headed up the Ivy League of great local chefs in industry.

Representing catering education was Adrian Kirikmaa (Restaurant Manager at the City of Bristol College).

Catherine Farinha, event organiser and Forum Coordinator stated that, “the Chefs’ Forum launch opened up the communication channels between the catering industry and education and suppliers – a need that was established through talking to all three groups – it was great to see all three interacting so well.”

The Forum is made up of chefs whose professional expertise has been recognised in the acquisition of prestigious foodie accolades including Michelin Stars, AA Rosettes and high Good Food Guide cooking scores.

Committee member Chris Wicks said, “The invitation-only Chefs’ Forum is very positive for our kitchens and education alike and is something towards which both chefs and students can strive. I am delighted to be part of it.”

College students will be invited to attend quarterly meetings with the chefs as a reward for demonstrating great promise and dedication.

The Forum will provides a facility for our great local chefs to share their knowledge and experience. The aim is to inspire and coach young catering students from City of Bristol College, Weston-super-Mare College and St Katherine’s VI Form. All three institutions were represented at The Chefs’ Forum launch last Monday.

Adrian Kirikmaa, Restaurant and Chef Manager at City of Bristol College said, “We are in the throes of a recession where morale is at an all time low. It is important that our students know that there is a job at the end of their studies and hard work and dedication will pay off – I am delighted with the positive reaction of the chefs and their willingness to get involved in The Chefs’ Forum.”

The Chefs’ Forum will keep chefs informed on what’s going on in the colleges including details of any competitions and events in which students are involved. They will also be able to use The Chefs’ Forum website to source apprentices and work experience candidates through the scheme.

Chefs will swap time in each others’ kitchens and enjoy guest speeches at future forums from experts on specialist subjects like organics, sous vide and food & wine pairing.

Quality local producers and suppliers will be invited to sample their wares at the forum to support the use of their products in our restaurants to boost the local economy.

These producers will also offer work experience and field trips to young chefs so they can trace to source the ingredients they use.

Ex City of Bristol College student Josh Eggleton won his first Michelin star at the age of 27. Speaking to This Is Bristol, he said, ‘One Michelin inspector said that to get a star, even the steak and chips has to be the best steak and chips, so we use the best beef, we triple-cook the chips and we slow-roast the tomatoes.’

Feedback like this is crucial to students aspiring to join this exciting industry – tips for success early on will contribute to career greatness.

The Chefs’ Forum is sponsored by Bristol Audi, Total Produce, Brian Wogan Coffee, The Clifton Range, Robert Welch and Bristol Buffalo Farm Shop.

 

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