Our first stop was to meet up with an old colleague from Les Roches, Chef/Lecturer, Mr. Quirke, who happens to be from the fine city of Birmingham and was kind enough to organize our passes for the two days we were there. Following an enjoyable dinner between the three of us on our first evening in Birminham, the next day we headed off to the NEC Centre to get out food show passes. Our first impression of the show – “Wow! This place is huge!”. And it really was immense, with stalls everywhere that included everything from exclusive meat and dairy products to bakery and kitchen equipment.
During the two days we spent wandering around the show, we saw loads of new products available for the food and restaurant industries. Notable were a selection of of exquisite smoked garlic salts, curry pastes, new types of breads, all sorts of organic produce, unique vegetarian ideas and plenty of new concepts and products aimed at healthy eating. It was so full of interesting exhibits that we literally went to all of the shows and displays, including Mastercless seminars with the BBC’s Master Chefs John Torode, Gregg Wallace and especially, Brian Turner‘s Fish Masterclass. These were followed by an interesting and tasty bakery show with none other than Paul Hollywood. We even spent time with Paul Rankin at his delightful bread stall!
Overall we were very impressed with what was on offer at the show and we brought back a plethora of ideas and contacts that I think will benefit both our students and kitchen staff at Les Roches Marbella.
After two long days of trekking from stall to stall at the food show, it was decided that we should end the trip on a high by dining at Jamie Oliver’s Italian Restaurant in Birmingham’s city centre. The experience was fantastic with brilliant food and a perfectly run operation that should serve as a benchmark for our students to strive for in their hospitality careers.
I thoroughly recommend that everyone visit this food show at least once in their lives, as it is an unforgettable experience.
All the best from Mr. O’Keefe and Mr. Schapmann! See you all in the Les Roches Marbella kitchens!