Event preview: Skills for Chefs

Skills finally returns to Sheffield after an enforced break, with a line-up that includes Pierre Koffmann and Paul Ainsworth...

The 23rd Skills for Chefs Conference will finally be held in Sheffield on 29th and 30th June. This industry stalwart returns to the roster after a two-year break. The opening event will be An Audience with Paul Ainsworth, followed by dinner. David McKown, director of the industry conference, said: “This will be a fascinating insight into Paul’s career and we will also spotlight the challenges that the industry faces in the future.”

In 1998, Ainsworth achieved his first big break when his college tutor at Southampton City College helped him to secure a job at Gary Rhodes’ Michelin-starred Rhodes in the Square in London. After two fulfilling years, he moved on to work with Gordon Ramsay at his three Michelin-starred restaurant on Royal Hospital Road.

While working at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Ainsworth was part of the team that successfully achieved the three stars. He won his own Michelin star in 2013 for his restaurant, Paul Ainsworth at No6 in Padstow. In July 2019, Ainsworth celebrated two prestigious wins at The Cateys, for Restaurateur of the Year – Independent and the Chef Award. 

An employer of 150 team members, Ainsworth is committed to helping others to thrive within the industry. In 2018, he launched the Paul Ainsworth Academy in partnership with Truro and Penwith College, offering hospitality students paid experience across all five of his businesses.

On 30th June, the culinary theatre will feature Hrishikesh Desai and Henrique Sá Pessoa. Desai won the Roux Scholarship in 2009, at the age of 29, at the first attempt. He is the executive head chef of the Michelin-starred Gilpin Hotel and Lake House in the Lake District.

Sá Pessoa is travelling from Portugal, where he holds two Michelin stars for his restaurant Alma in Lisbon, to present his culinary skills. This internationally renowned chef also operates restaurants across the world, including in Amsterdam and Macu in China.

Masterclasses will also be delivered at the conference by Ross Sneddon, executive pastry chef at the Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh, and Chris Wheeler, who is the executive chef at Stoke Park and ambassador chef for the Agriculture Horticulture Development Board. 

The closing speaker at the conference will be chef legend Pierre Koffmann, who held three Michelin stars for 15 years at his La Tante Claire restaurant. The Skills for Chefs Awards Dinner will take place on 30th June and the winners of UK Young Restaurant Team of the Year will be crowned that evening.

Essential info
What? Skills for Chefs
Where? Sheffield
When? 29th and 30th June
More info: www.skillsforchefs.org.uk

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