Bedfordshire’s secondary schools jumped at the opportunity to visit Central Bedfordshire College with their students to attend a ground-breaking taster day event to encourage the next generation of chefs and hospitality professionals to study at the regional centre of culinary excellence.
Secondary school pupils from years 8-11 in all Bedfordshire schools were invited to the college on Wednesday 9th March to get a sneak-peek into what the hospitality business is all about.
The two-hour introduction to hospitality featured a canapé reception followed by cookery demonstrations by local chefs and a special guest appearance by Masterchef Professionals finalist, Exose Grant.
“I love doing events like this as it’s really important that us chefs pass on our skills to the next generation. I was really impressed with Amira’s confidence and willingness to learn when she joined me on the demo stage, hearing that she loves making crepes shows me that already she has a passion for pastry…and that is so great to see.”
Chefs Sudha Shankar Saha (The Blue Monk) and Jay Michael Howard (The Leg Straps) also took to the demo stage to showcase pan-fried sea bass and steak respectively, both giving top tips for embarking on careers as chefs and telling the students what a great choice it would be.
In a first for The Chefs’ Forum Academy Taster Days, students also enjoyed a special, live performance of a brand-new theme tune to introduce taster days at its Academy colleges.
The opening theme tune, “Inspiration”, composed by Dieu-Donne Toyaleke AKA lowkeylimit, will be coupled with a flash mob of break-dancers dressed as chefs will be performed live on taster days and will also be used to help attract younger students and school leavers to consider a career as a chef as a backing track to promotional college videos, also produced by The Chefs’ Forum media team.
“It’s really important that we use all available media to reach younger foodies,”
explained The Chefs’ Forum, Director Catherine Farinha,
“We asked Dieu-Donne to pen us our very own motivational tune and he’s done it in a way that is instantly appealing and recognisable to a younger audience.
“We have to use every opportunity to reach out to younger audiences that they can come to college and learn from experienced chefs, but all done in a way and in a language that they understand.”
The song was written by music artist Dieu-Donne, brother of Exose, who formerly worked for Celebrity Chef James Martin, before recently taking over his own kitchen at Boulevard Manchester.
The lyrics are all about the support and opportunities and leading employer links that are available to students studying hospitality and catering at Central Bedfordshire college.
TV Chef Sudah Saha of Blue Monk and Jay Michael Coward of The Leg Straps will be demonstrating.
Catherine Farinha, Director of The Chefs’ Forum, said:
“These Taster Days are very important for introducing school pupils into the hospitality profession and a great way for colleges to attract students.
“The Chefs’ Forum is all about bridging the gap between colleges, the chefs’ profession and the wider hospitality community. I’m delighted to be working with the fantastic teaching team at Central Bedfordshire College to enrich students’ learning and forge greater employer links. They have just become a Chefs’ Forum Academy which means they now have access to our huge chef database and can maximise the skill base and knowledge of leading chefs.”
Andrew Cluskey, Chef Lecturer at Central Bedfordshire College concluded:
“This is a brilliant way for us to engage with local schools and showcase our fantastic training kitchens and restaurant here at the college. The visiting students will get the opportunity to see our students on stage cooking with top chefs and they will event get the opportunity to try their hand at filling and decorating eclairs. We’re really looking forward to using cookery demonstrations, music and street dance to really connect with our next cohort, who will hopefully become some of the next generation of chefs and hospitality professionals of the future.”
The Chefs’ Forum Academy sees top chefs visiting the college to teach students in their training kitchens. Michelin-starred chef Daniel Clifford, Chef Patron of Midsummer House, Ross Pike, Chef Director of Oakman Inns, Paul Nichols of The Woburn are all regulars at the college, inspiring students and forging employer links and enriching students’ learning.