Event preview: Skills for Chefs

This huge event returns to Sheffield at the end of June, celebrating its 25th event with a stellar chefing line-up.

The plans for the 25th Skills for Chefs conference, which will be held in Sheffield on 26th and 27th June, have been finalised. A stellar line-up of chefs will be involved in business sessions and culinary demonstrations once again.

David McKown MBE, director of the conference, said: “We are delighted to announce that our opening event this year will be an evening with Jason Atherton on 26th June. This will be the 25th conference since our first in 1998, and we are very excited to have Jason with us this year at the University of Sheffield.”

Jason Atherton
Atherton started out working alongside great chefs including Pierre Koffmann, Marco Pierre White, Nico Ladenis and Ferran Adria at el Bulli. He then joined the Gordon Ramsay Holdings in 2001 and launching Maze, first in London and then another five globally. Atherton left Gordon Ramsay Holdings in 2010 to launch his own restaurant company, Jason Atherton Ltd. 

Since then, Atherton’s The Social Company has grown into a globally renowned restaurant group. Its portfolio includes the Michelin-starred City Social, as well as Social Eating House, The Blind Pig bBar, Little Social and Berners Tavern, which was named ‘the defining restaurant of the decade’.

Alongside his London restaurants, Atherton has also opened critically acclaimed restaurants in Shanghai, Dubai, Mykonos and St Moritz. His latest opening is Row on 45, which provides bespoke fine dining situated in The Grovesnor House, a Luxury Collection Hotel in Dubai. 

Simon Rogan
In addition, Simon Rogan MBE, holder of three Michelin stars, will be the closing conference keynote speaker. In 2002, he opened his debut restaurant, L’Enclume in the Lake District village of Cartmel, with a focus on hyperlocal and seasonal ingredients. The restaurant currently holds three Michelin stars, the top spot in the Good Food Guide and five AA Rosettes.

Rogan expanded his restaurant portfolio to Hong Kong, opening Aulis and Roganic in 2019. Roganic Hong Kong was awarded its first Michelin star. In early 2023, he expanded his portfolio to Valletta, Malta, with the opening of ION Harbour by Simon Rogan.

Other attractions
A flavour of Scotland will also feature at the conference with Lorna McNee, who is the protégé of the late two Michelin-starred chef Andrew Fairlie and Great British Menu’s Champion of Champions for 2019. She is the only current female chef north of the border holding a Michelin star and her presentation will showcase seafood from Scotland.

The Skills for Chefs Conference will also host the national final of UK Young Restaurant Team of the Year 2024. This competition is for students representing their educational establishment with a maximum age limit of 23.

The national finalists for 2024 are Belfast Metropolitan College, Sheffield College, North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College, Loughborough College and New Suffolk College. The teams were selected from semi-final heats held at the Goron Ramsay Academy in Woking. The winners will be revealed at the gala awards dinner on 27th June held, which will be held at Firth Hall at the University of Sheffield. The first prize is a study tour to Paris with MSK Ingredients.

The conference also features a vibrant trade exhibition that will bring together suppliers and chefs from across the UK. Other chefs confirmed for the conference include Tim Allen, Tom Booton, Paul Leonard, James Sharp, Andrew Gravett and Florian Poirot.

McKown commented: “We are very confident of a sell-out once again, with over 200 chefs from all sectors in attendance. We are very grateful to the Sheffield College who host the business day and exhibition.”

Essential info
What? Skills for Chefs
Where? Sheffield
When? 26th and 27th June 2024
Further info: skillsforchefs.org.uk 


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