Discover the best food and drink experiences

Almost a year after The Chef's Forum launched its Birmingham & Midlands Chapter at University College Birmingham, the industry networking organisation returned to the highly acclaimed college on the 15th January to stage a Chefs’ Lunch to raise money to support young chefs and hospitality professionals.

To date, funds have been used to pay for coaches and minibuses to facilitate travel for young people to key industry career events and work experience placements.

Vital equipment such as chefs’ knives and uniform has also been given to young people in colleges all over the country.

The Chefs’ Forum doesn’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.

Michelin-starred chefs all worked with the UCB students at the Chefs' Lunch to produce a magnificent banquet for the top chefs who attended, including:

  • Luke Tipping and Leo Kattou of Simpsons Restaurant
  • Louisa Ellis of The Wilderness and Masterchef: Professionals finalist 2017
  • Mark Walsh of Opus Restaurant
  • Angelina Adamo of The Park Restaurant by Adam Jackson
  • Olivier Briault of The Edgbaston Boutique Hotel

This event signified a huge event in the Birmingham Hospitality industry, a bringing-together of the very best professionals in the business to inspire and enthuse the next generation of chefs and hospitality professionals at what has been described by Marco Pierre White as the “Ferrari of catering colleges!”.

The brigade of acclaimed chefs cooked a fantastic four course lunch comprising of a Brindisa Spanish Fine Foods Sharing Platter to start, then Louisa Ellis’ fantastic starter of Cauliflower, sponsored by Oliver Kay Produce.  

A Masterchef-worthy Starter

The 22-year-old CDP from The Wilderness won the hearts of the nation as she impressed the Masterchef judges Gregg Wallace, Monica Galetti and Marcus Waring with her fantastic skillset and ability which took her all the way to the final.

The comments from her peers on her Cauliflower starter were hugely complimentary, again proving that she has a bright future ahead of her, further emphasised by the fact that she has recently secured stages with some of the nation’s leading chefs.

Louisa said:

“Working with the students at UCB was inspiring, it reminded me of how passionate I was at their age and still am!  I was inspired to use one ingredient (cauliflower) and turn it into something interesting.  It was a vegetarian dish, but I managed to bring different flavours and textures to the plate – Roasting cauliflower completely changes the texture!”

A Fantastic Fish Course

Next was Mark Walsh’s Fish Course of Halibut, Jerusalem artichoke puree, kohlrabi, salt baked celeriac and swede, cockle, apples, chicken vinaigrette, tarragon.

This complex dish, sponsored by Marr Fish, was a real hit with the industry guests and the flavours worked perfectly together to make an excellent plate of food.

Mark invited ex-UCB student, Angelina Adamo (19) who previously worked at Harvey Nichols with him into the kitchen to produce his stunning fish dish.

The Main Event

Michelin-starred Simpsons Restaurant cooked the main course of Pork rib eye, smoked trout, pumpkin and leek. The dining chefs were highly impressed with this dish and the Wiltshire pork supplied by Chefs’ Forum Sponsor and multi-award-winning butcher Walter Rose & Son.

Luke Tipping, Executive Chef at Michelin-starred Simpsons Restaurant (Edgbaston) and his Masterchef: The Professionals quarterfinalist Leo, both relished the opportunity to cook the main course with the young chefs at the college.  

Luke said:

“It is great to work with the young people at the college.  I want to show them that we are very approachable and that as a result of a successful trial shift, a job as a chef in a Michelin-starred is absolutely achievable.  I was delighted to invite one of the guests at todays event for a trial shift later this week! 

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 to Simpsons on work experience.”

Delicious Dessert

Dessert was created by Olivier Briault, talented pastry chef at The Edgbaston Boutique Hotel. 

Olivier presented the guests with a decadent creamy dark chocolate with a crunchy hazelnut base, blood orange segments and spicy cognac ice cream. 

The room fell silent apart from a chorus of ‘mmmm’s, ooooh’s and ahhhh’s’ as guests devoured Olivier’s wondrous creation sponsored by E. Sidwell.

The lunch was a huge success and overwhelming positive feedback was received from all involved.

The Chefs’ Forum holds quarterly events in Birmingham and any chefs or front of house professionals wishing to get involved should contact [email protected]

All photos by Faydit Photography, at

Posted by Niamh Carpenter