THE WHO’S who of the fishing industry in Dorset gathered at West Bay last week for the Catch It Cook it event organised by the Chefs’ Forum.

The sunny event on the Old Pier at West Bay was attended by top Dorset chefs, the Lyme Bay Reserve, local fisherman and suppliers and catering students.

The highlights of the day included a fish filleting competition between professional chefs and student, cookery demos and a barbecue of freshly caught mackerel.

The Chefs’ Forum was born two years ago out of a desire to make a positive change in the hospitality industry.

Its aim is to connect chefs with education, suppliers with chefs and education with suppliers to both unite the industry and showcase the talent in Dorset.

As part of this scheme chefs in the south west have joined forces with local catering colleges to mentor and motivate the next generation of chefs.

Catherine Farinha, founder of The Chefs’ Forum and event organiser, pictured right, said: “We have forged valuable links between the catering colleges and top chefs across the South of the UK and it is wonderful to stage another event in Dorset.

“This event brought top chefs and students together with local fishermen. “Our events are a great opportunity next generation of top chefs and Front of House professionals learning from the very best in the business.”

Students from Bournemouth and Poole College catered for the event.

Btec Level 3 Hospitality Student Jess Burbidge, aged 17, won a top of the range set of chefs’ knives by Edge of Belgravia for scooping first place in the ‘Fastest Forum Filleter’ student heat.

Chefs’ Forum Committee member Brett Sutton from the Eastbury Hotel won the professional heat of the fish filleting contest.

He said: “I was very impressed with the students’ knife skills and am looking forward to having them work in my busy kitchen one day.

“These events are so important and successful for linking the industry together and that’s exactly what has happened today.”

Local veteran fisherman Dave Sales talked to the group of chefs about the work of the Lyme Bay Reserve and how it benefits him in preventing large commercial fishing fleets from desecrating the waters.

Neville Copperthwaite, spokesman for the Lyme Bay Marine Preserve said: “Our mission is to raise awareness of over forty species of fish that we have here in Lyme Bay. The main aim of our project is to help fishermen get the best price for the fish they catch whilst protecting the seabed and conserving nature.”

The Chefs’ Forum launched two years ago and has since expanded to include highly accredited chefs, catering colleges and top suppliers on a South West and South East regional level. Organisers plan to roll-out nationally next year. For more information visit