Students from UCB have been praised by top Birmingham chefs after assisting at a special fundraising lunch to support the next generation of hospitality professionals.
More than £2,000 was raised through ticket sales to The Chefs’ Forum event held in the University’s Brasserie, funds which will go towards paying for everything from coaches to culinary competitions and key careers events to chefs’ knives and uniforms to support 14-25-year olds entering the industry.
Top chefs Stewart Mackie of Harvey Nichols, freelance chef Tom Wells, Mark Walsh of The Forest Hotel and Olivier Briault of The Edgbaston Boutique Hotel worked with UCB students to produce a first-class banquet for the event, with guests ranging from industry-leading chefs to regional suppliers.
And not only did UCB students have the chance to cook with some of the best in the industry, they were also interviewed by BBC Midlands Today.
“It was great to work with these young people,” said Olivier. “I want to show them that we are very approachable and that a job as a chef in an award-winning, high-end restaurant like The Edgbaston is absolutely achievable.
“The team of students working with me today were very talented and had a great attitude. Based on their performance today, I would love to welcome them into my kitchen for work experience.”
Now in its third year, the event organised by The Chefs’ Forum Educational Foundation, kicked off with a beautifully-presented Walter Rose chicken and rabbit terrine starter from Stewart, served at the table by UCB’s front of house team, led by foodservice hospitality lecturers Liz Stratton and Jacquie Boyd and Mitchell Huckett, restaurant manager of The Edgbaston Boutique Hotel.
Next up was Tom’s fish course of pan roasted fillet of cod, broccoli, radish, pickled kohlrabi with dill and smoked butter sauce, followed by head chef Mark’s main of slow-cooked Norton’s Pork Collar from Walter Rose & Son, roasted butternut squash, sweetcorn puree, charred baby corn and pork jus.
And head chef Olivier finished off the perfect lunch with a dessert of exotic fruit rum baba, riveting the room with his explanation of the inspiration behind the Polish-French fruit cake decorated with highly-complex confectionary.
Proud to support
Neil Rippington, Dean of UCB’s College of Food and Hospitality Management, said: “The teaching team and I were delighted to host this fundraising lunch and it was great to see so many enthusiastic chefs and market-leading suppliers in attendance today.
“The students greatly enjoyed working with such high calibre chefs and welcoming BBC Birmingham into their training kitchens to film for the local news. We are proud to have established UCB as a hub for The Chefs’ Forum in Birmingham and its quarterly events offer fantastic opportunities for our students to work with a wide spectrum of high-profile local employers.”
The Chefs’ Forum founder, Catherine Farinha, said they didn’t want a lack of money to get in the way of high-achieving young people stepping onto the career ladder within the hospitality industry.
“We are delighted to support high-performing students who may be experiencing hardship through no fault of their own with travel costs, driving lessons, equipment provision or work-related expenses,” she said.
“One day, we hope all of the young people we help will be hugely successful employers in their own right if we give them a bit of help when they most need it, which is now, at the start of their careers.
“We are so grateful to the Birmingham chefs for raising £2,000 towards this crucial cause, further demonstrating their utmost support for the next generation of hospitality professionals.”
Each chef and Mitchell from Edgbaston Boutique Hotel had to pick a ‘Star of the Day’ student who, for them, shone brightly in terms of ability and attitude.
The winners each received a signed cookery book by Garima Poddar, Indian celebrity chef and current master’s degree student at UCB, or David Pearce, The Chefs’ Forum photographer, plus a day’s work experience with their mentor. The winners were:
Mitchell Huckett: Jordache Crawford-Brown
Stewart Mackie: Evan Holiday
Tom Wells: Henry Chapman
Olivier Briault: Ellie Perkins
The Chefs’ Forum holds quarterly events in Birmingham and any chefs or front of house professionals wishing to get involved should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find out more about UCB’s courses within the College of Food and Hospitality Management.