Skills for Chefs 20th Anniversary conference proves a ‘resounding success’

Cyrus Todiwala OBE (left) with Tom Kerridge
14/07/2017 - 12:23
The 20th Anniversary of the Skills for Chefs conference took place in Sheffield from 5-6 July in a new format that conference director David McKown described as a ‘resounding success’.

The two-day event, which brought together 200 chefs from across the world, began with recent Chef Catey Award winner, Kerridge, being interviewed by chef and presenter Joe Hurd.

The delegates gained a valuable insight into Kerridge’s culinary and business philosophy, with the session descried as both inspiring and highly motivational.

The delegates were then treated to a Parsi feast from Todiwala, in conjunction from the chefs at Inox, Sheffield University’s flagship restaurant and events venue.

The food was exciting and full of flavour and the interaction between Tom, Cyrus and all the delegates was described as a delight to witness.

“It was about time we made some changes and the opening event with Tom Kerridge and Cyrus Todiwala was very well received,” said McKown.

The chefs enjoyed a global breakfast the next morning, which gave them the chance to network with the exhibitors and sponsors.

Following a short briefing, the chefs then attended a series of masterclasses and larger plenary sessions across four different kitchens.

The first demonstration was from 2 Michelin-starred chef, Paul Cunningham, who made a whole buttered turbot cooked in champagne, with Henne herbs and fresh langoustines with Tomato Fondue and Basil Leaf.

Using produce from Seafood from Scotland, Cunningham’s cooking style emphasised the importance of less is more.

Cunningham, who travelled from Denmark to be at the event, also shared his own personal experience with stress, and encouraged those who might be suffering to seek support.

Celebrated pastry chef, Claire Clark, presented a selection of dairy and gluten free deserts and told the story of when her lemon drizzle cakes had an order of 48,000 at Wimbledon.

Chefs were then given tips on how to make and handle fresh pasta in six masterclasses by Francesco Mazzei from Satoria & Radicci restaurants.

Chefs picked up lots of tips on how to make and handle fresh pasta which Mazzei turned into a series of authentic Italian dishes.

Mazzei made clear that true Italian cuisine does not include any butter or cream, even though these ingredients might appear on the menu at local restaurants.

The third masterclass was presented by Ernest Jagodinski, from Poland, and Franck Pontais, from Koppert Cress, with Jagodinski presenting Cod Loin with Jerre Cress & Tahoon Oil and a second dish of Lamb with Hippo Tops and Shiso Purple Cress.

The final plenary session of the conference was ‘An Audience With Gennaro Contaldo’, hosted by Joe Hurd. The Italian chef and restaurateur spoke about his fascinating life story and was well received.

Rupert Rowley, Michelin-starred chef and graduate of Sheffield College, also delivered a series of masterclasses that focused on techniques and skills using a range of MSK ingredients and equipment.

Rowley prepared tastings for the delegates that included a Pimms ice lolly that was well received on a hot summer day.

The 20th Anniversary of Skills for Chefs concluded with a gala dinner held at University of Sheffield’s Firth Hall, where a team from the Master Chefs of Great Britain, along with chefs from the university and Sheffield College, worked in collaboration to present an Italian themed menu.

George McIvor from the Master Chefs of Great Britain presented an award for outstanding service to Mick Burke who retired from The Sheffield College last year.

Copyright 2017 Craft Guild of Chefs

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