Skills for Chefs Conference
28th - 29th June 2023
The 24th Skills for Chefs Conference took place on 28 & 29 June and it put under the spotlight a stellar line up of celebrated chefs.
The conference opened with “An Evening with Marco Pierre White” , a night for those present that they will remember forever. It was an electric atmosphere and for over an hour , our host Joe Hurd chatted with Marco on stage. This behind the scenes in depth discussion on his culinary career was fascinating. In response to the question “Tell us about winning 3 Michelin Stars” , the response from Marco was “I never won 3 Michelin Stars , it was the women and young men who won them , they were the orchestra , they played the symphony , I was the conductor and composer , at best I won 1 star with 2 teenagers in the kitchen , that was my biggest achievement”.
The evening concluded with an informal meal that showcased “Seafood from Scotland” with delegates getting into the spirit wearing Sou’westers to help serve guests on each table. The evening took place at Inox an event and function venue at The University of Sheffield.
The conference business day got underway with Henrique Sá Pessoa who had flown in from Lisbon to present dishes from Alma his 2 Michelin Starred restaurant. Henrique demonstrated two dishes , “Pork Alentejo Style with Clams” and “Confit cod , Chickpea Pil-pil , Cod brandade , Kale , Cod Pil-pil and Chickpeas”. The dishes created a marriage between classical Portuguese cuisine with a refined modern interpretation.
Also presenting in the main theatre was Sally Abé from the The Pem in London. Sally is known for her illustrious career working in many celebrated restaurants and her appearances on television. Sally demonstrated “Green Asparagus Tartlet with Seaweed Emulsion” and “Lancashire Leek Gratin with Mussels ,Vermouth and Dulse”.
A highlight for many of the chefs attending is the three intimate masterclasses taking place across kitchens throughout the day at the Sheffield College. The presenters of the masterclasses put in a day long shift running their class six times so all delegates can participate and engage in discussion with each other.
In the pastry kitchen , Andrew Gravett , Executive Pastry Chef from the Langham Hotel showcased “Raspberry and Anise Baba with Praline Cream” , “Fig and Almond Tart” and a unique way of making scones for afternoon tea that many delegates have now tried back in their own work place.
Luke French from Jöro Sheffield known for his eclectic cuisine demonstrated a signature dish called “Loch Eriboll Scallop , Strawberry , Lime and Tahiti Vanilla Thai Hot Sauce” , an inspiring dish using eastern ingredients to create a memorable dish.
In the third kitchen Martin Eccles an award winning butcher and Bocuse d’Or judge demonstrated how to maximise profit from specific cuts of British Beef and how to prepare a gourmet burgers from Flat Iron Steaks. A session that was well received by all delegates.
The afternoon sessions in the culinary theatre were presented by Tom Phillips , Executive Chef from Restaurant Story and the UK’s Bocuse d’Or Head Coach, who prepared “Fava Bean Agnolotti , Wild Mint Flowers and Burn Butter Sauce”. The finished pasta dough for the Agnolotti was outstanding , it included 28 egg yolks , 2 whole eggs , dash of Oil and Milk to 550 grams of 00 flour.
The business day was concluded with “An Audience with Brian Turner CBE” , hosted by Joe Hurd. It was great to have Brian share his continued passion for the industry , some 25 years since he first appeared at the very first Skills for Chefs Conference.
The conference concluded with a Gala Dinner at Firth Hall at the University of Sheffield and the Winners of UK Young Restaurant Team of the Year were announced during the evening.
The conference takes place in 2024 on 26 & 27 June and the details will be announced later in the year at www.skillsforchefs.org.uk