Things of a British nature - produce and cuisine - are certain to take centre stage on 16 April at London's Landmark hotel, when restaurateur Kit Chapman kicks off the 2003 Caterer & Hotelkeeper Chef Conference with his keynote speech.
Chapman, owner of Taunton's renowned Castle hotel and founder of the Brazz chain of brasseries, is well known for being passionate about the importance of using quality UK ingredients and promoting British cuisine. And at the Castle he has always had chefs in the vanguard of modern British cooking - Gary Rhodes, Phil Vickery and current head chef Richard Guest. The 200-plus chefs attending the conference - held in association with British Meat Foodservice - will also be hoping for an inside view on Chapman's life in the fast lane of the hospitality industry.
Another restaurateur well known for his use of local UK produce is Andrew Pern, chef-proprietor of North Yorkshire's one-Michelin-starred Star Inn at Harome. Pern has built up a reputation for sourcing most of his produce from within a five-mile radius of his business and will be letting delegates into a few of his secrets at a pork masterclass being staged after lunch at the conference.
Masterclasses from 2002 Catey Chef Award winner Germain Schwab and workshops on menu and beer pairing by Richard Fox, consultant chef with brewing and pub giant Interbrew, and classic modern cuisine with Conran Restaurants' chef-director Chris Galvin are also on the agenda. Schwab, chef-proprietor of the two-Michelin-starred Winteringham Fields in Lincolnshire, will team up with another man of the North, Nigel Haworth, chef-proprietor of Lancashire's one-Michelin-starred Northcote Manor, to bring the morning session of the conference to a close. Haworth will compere as Schwab prepares venison and beef.
Galvin, too, will feature as part of a double act when he reveals some of his classically based culinary skills. He'll be cooking alongside his protégé André Garrett, head chef at Conran's London flagship Orrery. Garrett, the reigning Roux Scholar, has recently returned from a stage with French masterchef Guy Savoy in Paris.
Before that final culinary expertise of the day (the workshops end the day at 4.30pm) legendary 1966 World Cup hat-trick scorer Sir Geoff Hurst will start the afternoon off with a motivational talk.
A live panel will then debate the skills shortage still affecting kitchens and the training that the industry needs to offer to recruit and develop good quality staff. The session will be chaired by Anne Walker of hospitality careers advice service Springboard UK, and also taking part will be Brian Turner, chairman of the Academy of Culinary Arts and the UK Hospitality Skills Board. Turner will be joined in the debate by TV chef and organic produce convert Steven Saunders.
The future on the industry, in food terms, will be up for discussion at the outset of the conference. With a panel of industry leaders and commentators as diverse as Heston Blumenthal, chef-proprietor of the Fat Duck at Bray, Berkshire, Professor David Foskett from Thames Valley University, John Campbell, executive chef at the Vineyard at Stockcross, and Galvin, the debate promises to be lively.
Providing the food at the dinner in the evening after the day's events will be the Landmark's executive chef, Gary Klaner. His five-course menu will follow up the theme of menu transparency with a centrepiece dish of English beef served with a Cabernet Sauvignon sauce.
For more details and bookings for the 2003 Chef Conference, call Shiva Hobson on 020 8652 3094, or e-mail
British Meat Foodservice sponsors the 2003 Chef Conference
British Meat Foodservice is delighted once again to sponsor the Caterer & Hotelkeeper Chef Conference.
The conference presents an ideal opportunity for caterers from all sectors of the food service industry to come together to share ideas and to learn from one another's experiences.
The lively debates, inspirational workshops and interesting and informative presentations and demonstrations all contribute to an event which is both educational and motivational for caterers.
Richard Fagan, development manager for British Meat Foodservice, comments: "As one of the most proactive marketing and development teams in the food service industry, our objective is to support caterers to enable them to deliver the product and service concepts needed to meet consumer demands.
"Working hand in hand with caterers from all sectors of industry, we provide advice, inspiration and information. Our unrivalled expertise in product specification, quality assurance and traceability, and in identifying capable sources of supply, has enabled many food service operators to improve their purchasing policies with regard to meat.
"Our growing ability to understand consumers and our constantly improving knowledge of sector structures and trends positions British Meat Foodservice as the cornerstone in building effective marketing and promotional programmes with key catering partners."