A taste of success for Sheffield

The University of Sheffield’s David McKown delivers another successful Skills for Chefs conference

The annual two-day conference, now in it’s 18th year, attracts delegates from all over the UK to Sheffield City College

A wide range of chefs and lecturers attend the event to learn new skills and discover the latest trends in food from some of the country’s leading chefs.

This year’s gathering welcomed some great new talent for the first time. Matt Gillan, Daniel Clifford and Adam Smith took to the main stage to present some of their current seasonal dishes and talk about their techniques, passions and cooking styles.

Richard Bertinet, a talented and well-seasoned artisan baker, demonstrated his unique style of bread making, and his exuberant character had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand.

Sheffield City College’s Mick Burke also shared some of his trade secrets, while his colleague Len Unwin championed his students – winners of the UK Young Restaurant Team of The Year Competition, held the day before the conference kicked off. 

In this competition, skills from both the kitchen and front of house had to be planned, executed and delivered to an exceedingly high standard and judged against the four other teams of finalists from as far a field as Forth Valley College in Scotland. 

ABOVE: This year’s UK Young Restaurant Team of The Year competition winners were from Sheffield City College

The Eagle & Child team from Lancashire also went head to head with Cambridge & Colchester colleges. The winning team was revealed at the gala dinner in the stunning Firth Hall which marked the close of the conference.

The winners will head to Jersey in October to experience the amazing produce, restaurants and service the island has to offer. The trip will include an afternoon spent on the beach at the famous Jersey Oyster beds, followed by a tour of the kitchen garden with a former chef Andrew Baird at Longueville Manor, which is part of the prestigious Relais Chateaux group of luxury hotels. 

Next year’s conference is sure to be bigger and better and will once again raise Sheffield and the university in to the limelight showcasing the city, great facilities and its dedication to education and developing all kinds of people from all industries and walks of life. 

Event organiser David McKown said: ‘It was another great year and the feedback has been fantastic, but we are not sitting on our laurels. We are going to introduce new business sessions next year and feature another top line up of amazing chefs – keep your eye on the website.’

If the success of the conference wasn’t enough for the University, event organiser David McKown recently scooped a Catey award for Education and Training at the Grosvenor Hotel in London. McKown, a Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality, joined the University of Sheffield in 1992.

Achievements in his career to date include the Cost Sector Catering Award for the University/College Sector and the TUCO Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Sector. 

David was awarded Honorary Membership of the Master Chefs of Great Britain (MCGB) in 2012. In 2011, he became a Director of University Hospitality Seminars Ltd, a company that designs, organises and delivers training for staff working in Higher Education Institutions across the UK.

W: skillsforchefs.org.uk

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