A lively hour of jokey banter did not take away from the fact that the Chef Conference was being entertained by two of the UK's brightest and most exciting young chefs, Nathan Outlaw and Glynn Purnell.
As they each prepared dishes that showcased their culinary repertoires, they shared with the audience some of the things that inspire them.
Outlaw, who runs Restaurant Nathan Outlaw in the Marina Villa Hotel in Fowey, Cornwall, said that local sourcing of ingredients was particularly close to his heart. "We've got so much fantastic produce on our doorstep in the South-west, there is no way that I wouldn't use it," he said.
"I have such confidence in my fish supplier that I don't tell him what I want, I just use what he brings me as he knows what is best."
Glynn Purnell, chef-proprietor of Purnell's restaurant, finds it harder to buy food locally, as he is based in the centre of Birmingham, but he revealed that he did source as close to home as possible. "If I went foraging in Birmingham I'd find wrappers and dog turd," he joked.
Purnell is often influenced by memories - such as the childhood memory of the smell of malt vinegar on fish and chips. Hence the inclusion of malt vinegar in a thick syrup - made by reducing the vinegar, along with some sugar and black peppercorns - that he used to coat a roasted tail of fillet of beef, served with a salad of peas, purple potatoes and liquorice charcoal.
Meanwhile, Outlaw impressed the audience with his use of ling, an underrated fish that "looks like a cross between conger eel and cod, with flesh like monkfish". He served the ling with razor clams, bacon, shallots, sea campion, gutweed, purslane and rock samphire.
Glynn Purnell's tail of fillet of beef classically roasted with a salad of peas, malt vinegar and black pepper, liquorice charcoal and purple potatoes
1 tail fillet of beef, on the bone
For the glaze
100g malt vinegar
20 black peppercorns
Freshly ground black pepper
For the pea salad
150g of peas(frozen petits pois are best)
1/2 shallot, finely diced
1tbs majoram, chopped
For the purple potatoes and liquorice charcoal
8 purple potatoes
2tbs of cooked peas
100ml marjoram oil
4 liquorice sticks
For the liquorice purée 10 Pontefract cakes
A splash of water
Make a malt vinegar and black pepper glaze by boiling the sugar and the peppercorns to a thick syrup. Pass through a chinois and add four big turns of pepper to season.
For the pea salad: place all the ingredients into a blender and "pulse" to a coarse consistency adding a splash of olive oil. Season.
For the purple potatoes: cook the potatoes with the skin on in salted water. Cool, then finely dice. They will be warmed up with the marjoram oil to dress the plate.
For the liquorice charcoal: break up the liquorice sticks and dry them out in the oven. Once dry, place in a pan and use a blow-torch to burn them. Pass through a chinois and add a couple of tablespoons of liquorice powder to taste.
To make the liquorice purée, melt down the Pontefract cakes with a splash of water and put in a piping bag.
Before roasting the beef, ensure that it has been out of the fridge for a couple of hours. Place the tail fillet in a frying pan (bone-side down). Place in the oven at 220°C for 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the meat. Remove and leave it to rest for another 15-20 minutes.
To plate: paint the vinegar glaze on to the plate with a brush. Place a quenelle of cold pea salad on plate. Warm through the potatoes and the peas with the marjoram oil and dress the plate.
Carve the beef on the bone - dust with ginger powder, season with rock salt and place on top of the vinegar glaze. Add a couple of dots of the liquorice purée on the plate, drizzle a small amount of reduced beef stock over the meat and dust the plate with liquorice charcoal.
Photography by Lisa Barber (www.lisabarber.co.uk)