From education to employment


Local students from Activate Learning at City of Oxford College and Reading College cooked up a storm yesterday at a special 10th Anniversary lunch in the Cotswolds.

The event, part of a year of 10th Anniversary lunches to celebrate 10 years of The Chefs’ Forum, featured top local chefs working with students to create an unmissable 5 course lunch at top honey-stone Cotswolds destination Thyme on the family-run Southrop Manor Estate.

A mini tradeshow and ‘Velfrey’ Welsh Sparkling Wine reception took place, where the guests could network and talk with sponsors, finding out about the latest catering equipment and ingredients.

Taylor UK showcased the Orved Idea vac packer machine and the new Teddy stand mixer, both of which garnered a great deal of interest from the culinary professionals who attended.

The menu:

Amuse-bouche by Foie Royale – Dan Moon, Chef Ambassador

Tomato and onion Foie Royale tartlet
Velfrey Sparkling Wine

Starter by Lucknam Park (Hywel Jones) & Crockers Henley (Tom Westerland)

Cauliflower Cooked Over Coals – Wild Garlic, Smoked Almond, Truffle Honey, “Cauliflower Cheese”
by Tom Westerland

New Season morel mushrooms, hazelnut and Wiltshire truffle pesto, Pedro Ximenez
by Hywel Jones
Monty’s Brewery Sunshine

Fish Course by The Calcot Collection – Richard Davies & Jamie Mccallum

Roast cod, fermented ramsons, Isle of Wight tomatoes, lobster bisque
by Jamie Mccallum

Ravioli of Loch Duart salmon, English asparagus, peas, broad beans and wild garlic
by Richard Davies
Gwinllan Conwy Vineyard Chardonnay 2020

Main Course by Thyme – Charlie Hibbert & David Kelman

Bavette, asparagus, tropea and anchoiade
White Castle Vineyard Regent 2019

Dessert by The Kingham Plough – Ashleigh Farrand

Tiramisu, chocolate soil, blood orange, white chocolate aero
Aberfalls Distillery Salted Toffee Liqueur

The Chefs’ Forum director Catherine Farinha was overwhelmed by the level of expertise amongst the students and the chefs who created the dishes. She said

“It was very special to be celebrating our 10th Anniversary with some of our longest-standing members. The Cotswolds is where it all started for us and it was a joy to see so many old friends including our unbelievable suppliers. And it was also incredible to be at Thyme. This is a special place, and I am so thankful to Charlie Hibbert and the team for welcoming us to his family’s estate and gorgeous restaurant.”

The students joined forces with seven top chefs to cook a delicious menu, with some courses served alternate versions to spark real culinary conversation among the fifty chefs who attended, celebrating the fantastic produce from sponsors including Foie Royal, providing the Foie Royale for the delicious amuse bouche, New Wave Seafood, providing the fish, Hanks’ Meat & Game for providing the sensational Longhorn beef, Lovejoys providing fresh produce and ingredients use in all the courses and the Welsh Drinks Cluster for supplying the amazing drinks paired with each course.

The event couldn’t have been possible without our equipment sponsors Taylor UK and longstanding supporter Adande.

Andrew Slater, Director of Lifestyle from Activate Learning College Group said

 “What an incredible event! It just shows that when you connect education and industry the magic happens. Out students were thrilled to be involved and work with such renowned chefs and it really gave them an insight into the profession they have chosen, and I am so grateful to The Chefs’ Forum for making it happen.”

Dan Moon, chef ambassador of Foie Royale, who cooked the amuse bouche, said: “We were very excited to produce a course for The Cotswolds & Bath Chefs’ lunch. We have a strong relationship with The Chefs’ Forum and it was great to be able to get students working with our product and see it shine.”

This 10th Anniversary lunch was the third in a series of ten Chefs’ Lunches set to take place throughout 2022 to mark ten fantastic years of The Chefs’ Forum, now national and spanning across eleven areas.

Any chefs wishing to get involved in The Chefs’ Forum events or Chefs’ Forum Academies should contact [email protected]

Photography by Gareth Davies Media.

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