The room’s full of chefs, restaurateurs and other movers and shakers from the hospitality industry.
In the kitchen at UCB are five of Birmingham’s best chefs supported by students and staff from the university college.
This is the latest lunch organised by the Chefs’ Forum Educational Foundation, which supports young people wanting to get into the sector.
Specially invited guests have been invited to network then sit down to food and drink, paying what they think its merited.
Louisa Ellis – The Wilderness
Mark Walsh – Opus
Halibut, Jerusalem artichoke puree, kohlrabi, salt baked celeriac and swede, cockles, apples, chicken vinaigrette, tarragon.
Luke Tipping and Leo Kattaou – Simpsons
Pork rib eye, smoked trout, pumpkin and leek.
Oliver Briault – The Edgbaston
Creamy dark chocolate with a crunchy hazelnut base, blood orange segments and spicy cognac ice cream.
And the result?
This is a menu that I’d happily order in a high-end restaurant and the delivery of each course is spot-on.
Masterchef finalist Louisa’s cauliflower combo is a masterclass in how to turn a humble ingredient into a collection of treats.
Crumbed cauli scorched and mixed with yeast flakes to create a powerfully savour crumb. A divine puree. Gentled pickled cauliflower. Burnt florets.
This was imaginative and technically accomplished.
Mark’s fish course was a playful contrast of flavours – earthy, fishy, sweet and sharp, all reined in by a wave of refreshing aniseed.
The meat course prepared by Luke and Masterchef quarter-finalist Leo was another playful and persuasive plate – succulent, flavoursome meat, smoky eel, sweet pumpkin.
And the dessert by Olivier was simply magnificent – a rich, indulgent and beautifully crafted serving of perfection that combined creamy textures with crunch, sweetness with citrus sharpness.
A word, too, for local company Alicia Handmade Ice Creams and Sorbets, who provided a beautiful palate-cleanser between the fish and meat courses.
Look out for this sibling-run firm’s high-quality products. They’re sensational.
Here was an event which showcased the depth and richness of talent of our city’s food scene.