Day 2 of The Staff Canteen Live 2019 at The Professional Kitchen and Food Service Show

The  Staff Canteen

We wrapped up in style today on the second day of The Staff Canteen Live 2019 at the Professional Kitchen Food Service Show in Birmingham.

Another exceptional line-up of chefs showcased their skills in front of an audience, celebrating and promoting the best of the British hospitality industry.

James Cochran
James Cochran

We kicked off with a demonstration by James Cochran, who cooked his signature dish that earned him the first prize in this year’s Great British Menu – a lightly charred, hay smoked rack of kid goat with a coconut polenta, burnt pineapple salsa, coriander, a scotch bonnet jam, topped with corn nuts. 

The dish showcases goat as an ingredient, close to James’ heart, an ode to his maternal Caribbean heritage.

James Cochran said participating in today’s event was 'a good rehearsal' for Saturday Kitchen Live, on which he is due to appear this week, and made a 'big shout out to The Staff Canteen'.

What's more, he said: “It’s really good for young chefs to come and work alongside chefs to understand the techniques and trends they need to know.”

But the most important thing for young chefs, he added, 'is to have your own vision and not let anyone take that away from you. Have faith in what you do, be yourself and be unique to what you are'.

Former head chef of Michelin-starred Fischer’s Rupert Rowley then followed with his spiced Norfolk quail topped with mango chutney and curry nuts, which he said was inspired by a trip to Sri Lanka.

Rupert said he 'really enjoyed [the event]'.

“I’ve met loads of people, you come here you see loads of people, people see me, it’s just great. It’s all about getting chefs out of the kitchen; it’s so easy just to stay at work, it’s getting them out.”

 He said it was 'absolutely brilliant' for students to attend, too.

“Every restaurant in the country should have a relationship with its nearest catering college. It’s their duty as ambassadors for this trade to have some kind of a relationship with a college. Even if it’s going in and showing them how to dice an onion. You’ve got to give them an aspiration of somewhere they want to go to.”

the audience

“Not enough chefs do it. Some do it, some don’t, and this is helping facilitate that, but that is what every restaurant should be doing, without a doubt.”

“The Staff Canteen is just a great ambassador for the industry, it works and it’s good, it’s about getting chefs on all levels interacting, meeting, talking, and that’s great.”  

Second to last, Alex Claridge took to the stage with his head chef Stuart Deeley from Birmingham’s hidden gem in the Jewellery quarter, The Wilderness. The pair cooked a dish from their tasting menu, poetically named “Not another f***ing Balti.”  

Alex Claridge
Alex Claridge

Alex didn’t mince his words when he told guests about where his inspiration came from for the dish: “I just really really f***ing love butter chicken. Imagine that dish with a little bit less gravitas and a little bit more swearing.”

“It’s important to remind people how good some of these non-fancy foods are, the food that we all know that brings us all together. It’s good to remind people what good food should be. Everything we do is a tribute to these things.”

The dish, comprised of confit whole quail, lentil dhal samosas wrapped in a light brick leaf, cucumber foam, date and tamarind purée and crispy puffed wild rice topped with young coriander cress – provided by event sponsor, Westlands - 'for flavour clarity'.

Alex said he was glad to have attended the event: “It was a good crack, I very much enjoyed myself, and everyone at The Staff Canteen was lovely.”

For head chef Stuart, the benefits for TSC Live attendees and students alike are: "seeing up to date techniques they might not see. For me, seeing different chefs gives you… When you start, you learn to cook. When you start to progress, you learn how to find your own style, you learn how to find a voice and I think it’s so important to meet as many chefs as possible. Generally I think it supports the industry and if you take the time to engage with it, that’s great.”

Finally, recently Michelin-starred Paul Foster treated the crowd to two dishes from his new book and eponymous restaurant, Salt. Paul has climbed his way up to the highest echelon of the British gastronomic world, working for Sat Bains and Raymond Blanc, and earning three AA Rosettes within the first year of launching his own venture with what he likes to call “ingredient-led” cuisine.  

First, he prepared salted hake with semi-cured fennel, braised kombu, dried seaweed and sea purslane, followed by king oyster mushroom tagliatelle, slow cooked duck egg yolk topped with panko breadcrumbs, buttery yeast flakes, pickled red onions and peppery watercress.

Paul Foster

Although he noted that “'you never really know whether people are going to like what you do,” he said “it was really good today, I think it was well received'.

“I loved coming to watch demos when I was training, so you’d get to come and watch – and one of the things The Staff Canteen does really well is that they get great chefs, ones that I actually like as a chef owner and a restaurant, that I enjoy watching. I think for all levels, it’s a very important thing.”

“I think it’s really positive for the industry, the more of it the better.”


Katlin Ambos, National Sales Manager for Santa Maria, aka the Spice Nerds, who supported today’s event, said: “Today has been absolutely brilliant. We’ve had lots of interest, some amazing chefs popping in, we had celebrities coming straight from the stage to the truck, so that’s been fantastic.”

“We’ve been working with The Staff Canteen for quite a few years now, and then we did that kind of set at Hotelympia last year, and that went really well.”

“The Staff Canteen’s presentations get lots of attention so we’re most happy, absolutely.”

“The biggest benefit isn’t just being here but collaborating, promoting each other and having fun at the same time.”  

Meanwhile, Bhavik Patel, owner of Mum’s Kitchen - a home style Indian food restaurant in London - attended the event for the first time today.

He commended The Staff Canteen’s involvement with University College Birmingham, and said: “It’s all down to what exposure [students] have. A typical young one might go to McDonald’s to flip burgers but that’s not really learning, whereas students doing this kind of cooking understand what the foundation and the fundamentals and they can apply that to almost any food.”

The Staff Canteen Live events are made possible by our sponsors, whom we would like to thank:  Santa Maria, Westlands, Essential Cuisine, Eauvation, and Pommery Champagne.

Our praise and appreciation also goes out to our partners at University College Birmingham and Solent for their hard work and dedication.

And finally, thank you to all who attended The Staff Canteen Live or watched our broadcasts on social media. We live and breathe for our community, keep doing what you do!

In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall and restrict access – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 23rd January 2019

Day 2 of The Staff Canteen Live 2019 at The Professional Kitchen and Food Service Show