Chefs' Forum at Parlour ~ A Sensory Voyage


What do you get when more than 70 chefs from across London join leading suppliers and specialist producers for an industry event called The Chefs' Forum? We'll tell you get an event to blow one's mind with mouth watering and visually stunning fare.

The Chefs' Forum aims to shine an industry spotlight on the latest cooking trends and techniques being used in the best London kitchens. This is to enhance the knowledge base of professional chefs and to inspire the next generation, encouraging them by showing just how great their career can be.

We were treated to master classes, specialist tastings and all kinds of delicious food and drink, topped off with a multi sensory interactive dessert that left a room full of highly experienced chefs, foodies and suppliers simply stunned.

The Chefs' Forum's founder Catherine Farinha explained that “the purpose of The Chefs’ Forum is to forge links between top chefs, producers and suppliers and the rising stars of the hospitality industry, and events like today show just how valuable the links between education and industry can be."

This particular Chefs' Forum was hosted by award winning Chef Patron Jesse Dunford Woods at his utterly excellent Parlour restaurant in Kensal Green, London. Parlour's motto is "make it fun, make it memorable, make it Parlour!" ~ by golly they lived up to that motto.

(Map to Parlour restaurant Kensal Green)

The event commenced with a canapé reception prepared by apprentices of Hospitality Industry Training: HIT, showcasing some items from Parlour's menu and HIT chefs' skills

A "houmous" nest was in fact made from chestnuts rather than chickpeas, in Sherry vinegar

Raw Vegetable Ravioli, with no pasta but instead had carpaccio-style thinly sliced layers of raw beetroot, root vegetables, whipped goats cheese, cranberries, capers and red cabbage.

Other featured morsels from Parlour's menu included popcorn lobster, chicken lollipops and 'backdoor' apple-wood smoked Salmon on soda bread - literally smoked out in the back yard - and a beautifully decorated Custard Tart.

Several simply excellent specialist suppliers presented some of the finest produce available.

Produce from First Choice

The Favis brothers, Nigel & Kevin featured their premium shellfish

Carefully sourced single estate teas, expertly prepared by passionate experts.

Comins Tea House 

Guests were invited to participate in an olive oil tasting with Olivence which comprises five of France's top artisan producers: Codefa, La Lieutenante, Moulin Cornille, Castelas and Vignolis. Each tasting revealed different flavours and textures. Jesse made ten different mayonnaises with the oils and some fabulous chocolates to demonstrate the versatility of using top quality olive oil with various flavour notes as ingredients.

Oils from the artisans Codefa, La Lieutenante, Moulin Cornille, Castelas & Vignolis

Chocolates & Nibbles courtesy of Turners Fine Foods

Adult Chocolate Drops! 3 "Shades of" Great Satisfaction from Cacao Barry

Not just one but two Roux Scholars gave chefs and HIT training learners a Global Knife Skills Masterclass. Andrew Jones from Chamberlain’s of London reminisced about inspiration from Japan, gained during a trip he took with the Roux Scholarship.

Andrew Jones from Chamberlain’s Restaurant

Armand Sablon of The Hotel Café Royal demonstrated classic techniques using specialist Global Knives. Apprentices from HIT Chefs’ Academy then took part in a knife skills competition where they had to turn a potato from Armand’s classic dish, sautéed chicken - with turned vegetables using a Global turning knife. They then had to fillet and pin bone a whole mackerel from Andrew’s demo using a Global G-18 24cm filleting knife and GS-20 fish bone tweezers. The winner, Abdirisaq Sharif Mohammed from HIT Training Academy was awarded a Global GS89A 30th Anniversary special edition cook’s knife.

Sophie Newton, Brand Manager at Global Knives UK said: “Global sponsors The Chefs’ Forum as we firmly believe in bridging the gap between education and industry and supporting young chefs. This event was a great opportunity to showcase the Global 30th Anniversary knife range – A major milestone of time working within the UK catering industry.”

Armand Sablon of The Hotel Café Royal

Armand Sablon Global Knives Demo
photograph courtesy by Craig Howarth

Armand Sablon Global Knives Demo
photograph courtesy by Craig Howarth

The Hopefuls Compete

"Turning a Potato" should take 10 seconds in a busy restaurant
 ...but not with that blunt knife!

 "One Potato, Two Potato which one Won?"

The Winner,
Abdirisaq Sharif Mohammed from HIT Training Academy,
was awarded a 
Global GS89A 30th Anniversary Special Edition Cook's Knife

And now for the pièce de résistance!

Jesse had been introduced to us as Parlour's "resident Willy Wonka" and he recommended that we stay for a "dessert we're preparing for all of you". Little did we know that a total sensory dessert feast lay ahead.

Diners enjoyed an interactive silent disco-like experience using music and sounds played through headphones as we watched the incredible dessert being prepared.  

We started with Odyssey - Strauss' Also Sprach Zarathustra -  music famously used in Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey. The fanfare was well deserved - but we did not know what lay ahead as a long sheet of foil was rolled out over several metres of table and spoons containing popping candy laid along the edges.

Step by step the army of chefs diligently, speedily and expertly built a dessert worthy of Wonka's factory and one that made everyone present revisit some subconscious childhood memories as the grown up kids party table unfolded before us. 

The music included choice selections from Mary Poppins, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and fittingly, David Bowie's Space Odyssey.

Mid flow...hard to make out from the photo...but that's magical scented mist rising from below

Each element was expertly made and assembled in front of our eyes.
Raspberry soufflé with roasted hazelnuts, toasted marshmallows and all kinds of cake and jelly.

Arctic rolls, wagon wheels, salted caramel rollos, the list went on and on...

Jesse’s ‘Willy Wonka-esque’ tour de force was a grand finale to a fantastic day of knowledge-sharing and networking - it was nothing short of sensational and the silent disco and multi sensory dessert proved a real hit with the culinary experts!

The Chefs' Forum is a unique chance to meet existing stars of present and the future in a relaxed setting, sample produce and products and for those fortunate to attend, take home a very generous goody bag. 

We're eagerly looking forward to the next Chefs' Forum event, held on the 6th July at Le Meridien Piccadilly with Master of  Culinary Arts, Chef de Cuisine, Michael Dutnall; by which time we hope we have become adults again after having regressed to childhood innocence at Parlour. 

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