Monday 8th April saw students from across our Catering & Hospitality courses attend a fantastic Butchery and Braai (South African-style BBQ) event at The Poet at Matfield in Tonbridge. It was the first of many events working with The Chefs’ Forum, which brings chefs together and inspires student chefs, offering them all a chance to share knowledge and best practice.
Chef-Patron of The Poet, Petrus Madutlela and his business partners Chris and Andy proved the perfect hosts as they welcomed chefs from across Kent into their stylish beer garden for a celebration of South Africa. The purpose-built Braai was fired-up with logs and Berkmann Wines prepared an alfresco South African wine-tasting to accompany.
Our students joined a cohort from North Kent College, meeting Petrus and his team in the kitchen to create delicious canapés showcasing his menu, including Winterdale Cheddar croquettes with a marmite mayo, marinated duck hearts, spicy chicken wings and an artichoke tarte fine. The students very much enjoyed the opportunity to meet employers and their peers from North Kent College.
The guests arrived at midday and were treated to a delicious welcome drink and the canapés prepared by Petrus and the students. Networking and introductions to the finest suppliers is an integral function of Chefs’ Forum events.
There was a great vibe about the day and an overwhelming sense of friendship and camaraderie amongst the chefs who attended. Petrus invited chefs to ask questions on his journey as a chef, explaining as he started as a kitchen porter in South Africa, coming from very humble beginnings in Pretoria. His sheer hard work and determination since then has seen him work his way up, including a stint at The Savoy and a turn on Masterchef: The Professionals. At home, he was judge of South African TV show Ultimate Braai Master.
When asked about the students’ performance, Petrus was highly complementary, saying: "The students have been excellent today – their professional attitude and willingness to learn was a joy to see. I really liked welcoming students from both North Kent and West Kent College to The Poet and seeing how well they worked together as a team, despite never meeting before The Chefs’ Forum event."
A wonderful South African wine-pairing session with Berkmann Wine Cellars kicked-off festivities in the garden, as the students served more canapés to bring out the zingy flavour notes in the wines showcased: Lievlander Old Vine Chenin Blanc with smoked mackerel tacos, Babylon’s Peak Viognier Roussanne with chicken oyster ravioli jus gras and Buitenverwachting 1769 Muscat with hazelnut deluxe.
The guests were then treated to a fantastic chicken cookery demonstration by Petrus, who jointed the chicken and talked chefs through his brining and aging process using herbs and spices. Chefs then enjoyed an authentic boerewors haute dog made to Petrus’ recipe.
A lamb butchery masterclass with Walter Rose & Son then followed and chefs looked-on, engaged by the master butchery skills of boning, rolling and tying being showcased to them by Director Jack Cook and New Business Manager Alex Byrne.
Photo credit: www.kentfoodphotographer.com
For more information on The Chefs' Forum: www.thechefsforum.co.uk