Spring 09 - Hospitality 2009

12/04/2013 11:04
This year’s Hospitality show was acclaimed a triumph as visitors flocked through Birmingham’s NEC doors during the busy three day spell to benefit from the culinary expertise on display.

At the biennial Hospitality show in January the halls were packed with chefs, foodservice operators and foodies who spent their time sampling and sourcing new products and ideas, but the live demos were a key part of the show.

On the Craft Guild of Chefs’ Skillery some of the country’s leading chefs experimented with different cuisines and techniques, and provided educational and inspirational demos, while the Live Theatre was staging many competitions cheered on by a host of supporters.

At the same time, La Parade des Chefs highlighted the competitive edge between the top foodservice giants.

Craft Guild business partners sponsored and supported many events at the Live Theatre. These include: Continental Chef Supplies, Essential Cuisine, Heinz, Gourmet Classic, Nestlé Professional, Rational, Schöller Ice Cream and Steelite.

Top restaurant chefs such as Arthur Potts Dawson, Anirudh Arora, Izu Ani and Glynn Purnell set the pace at the Craft Guild’s Skillery on day one of the event. Arora, head chef at the Moti Mahal in London, hosted a session on ‘Innovative Indian Spicing’ taking the audience through his preparation of a lobster dish that carefully infused bold Indian flavours. He finished with one of his signature desserts – baked yogurt with figs and cardamom.

Ani, who heads the kitchens at Vanilla Restaurant & Bar, “played with the senses” in his presentation and talked about the different sensations you experience as you eat. He showcased flavours and mouthwatering dishes such as kaolin potatoes, parsley meringues and cod with a sechuan button on slates, and mixed different textures such as cassava with large prawns. The kaolin potato for example had the fluffiness of the boiled potato contrasted with the crunchy outside texture like an eggshell.

Potts Dawson of Acorn House, joined by his trainees, demonstrated his eco stance in his ‘Back To Your Roots’ session, which covered blanching, braising, fish preparation, roasting, butchery as well as stock making. At Acorn House even the packaging is retained for reuse. Looking at ways of cutting down waste, he says he doesn’t want the bag just the leek. “It’s about reducing it or reusing it,“ he says.

Purnell, who won the Craft Guild’s new restaurant of the year award last year, prides himself on the provenance and seasonality of his food. He demonstrated some of his innovative cooking that has brought him critical acclaim.

Consultant chef Sophie Wright and Rob Kennedy, executive chef with the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, used identical mystery ingredients to prepare and cook a dish in just 25 minutes, and took the audience through their actions and methods.

Day two’s programme included Taher Jibet, head chef of Bistro One Ninety in London, who demonstrated Mediterranean cuisine with an Asian twist. He prepared two dishes: aromatic duck ravioli with a chilli butter sauce, followed by seafood and saffron risotto served with chilli oil.

Veggie food was given a lift by Vanessa Scott, chef/director of Strattons Hotel in Norfolk. She showed how vegetarian food can be innovative, healthy and sustainable by serving a selection of dishes such as twice baked Binham blue and potato soufflé, chickpea batter and cider glazed baby turnips with golden raisins.

On the final day, two restaurant chefs that drew the crowds were Peter Gorton, head chef/owner at The Horn of Plenty in Devon, and Lahiru Jayasekara, junior sous chef at Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons in Oxford.

Gorton spent his time proving how it is possible to use cheaper cuts of fish for favourite dishes and how this can be profitable, while Jayasekara put his stamp on two classic French dishes. These were pan fried foie gras with a coffee glaze and an almond crust finished with an amaretto foam, pan fried pavé of salmon with sautéed baby spinach and a mussel velouté.

Toque d’Or winners in both 2006 and 2008 from Carlisle College with their chef lecturer Andy Stacey rekindled their moment of triumph showcasing the culinary talents that provided a winning formula.

Nestlé’s Martin Webster says he found the show a great way of interacting with other people from the industry. “Hospitality 2009 has been a good show. It allows us to speak directly to chefs and present products in a professional, business environment. Competitions were the highlight of the event. Toque d’Or, Salon Culinaire and the Skillery are unique features that make the show what it is.”

Culinary Academy team leader Andy Twells also went down the competition route and explained the process of planning and delivering a successful live competition entry while rustling up a main course dish using mutton and an Essential Cuisine lamb jus.

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