School of Food Innovative chef apprenticeship programme for regional award

Innovative chef apprenticeship programme up for regional award

An innovative chef training programme jointly run by Weston College has been shortlisted for a regional award.

The School of Food – an apprenticeship programme designed to tackle the local skills shortage – is in the running for ‘best initiative’ in the Crumbs Magazine Awards.

Crumbs describes itself as “the South West’s most gorgeous, inspirational and practical food and drink magazine”. It created the awards in 2017 to celebrate the region’s food scene and recognise the people and businesses behind it.

Representatives from The School of Food will now appear alongside other finalists at a glitzy ceremony at the Bristol Old Vic in October.

TheCollege teamed up with renowned local chefs, Josh Eggleton and Adrian Kirikmaa, St Katherine’s School and Ashton Gate Stadium to deliver the School of Food programme, which launched in October last year.

TheSchool offers a 12-month Commis Chef Intermediate Apprenticeship which combines employment in a local restaurant, hotel or food business with work-based training. Apprentices are taught by experienced chefs in state-of-the-art kitchens, including Ashton Gate and the College’s Grove Restaurant.

The curriculum covers everything from food preparation and nutrition to chef and knife skills, food knowledge, stock taking and the financial aspects of working in a kitchen.

The idea emerged out of a conversation between Eggleton – a Michelin-starred chef and owner of the Pony & Trap gastropub in Chew Magna – and Kirikmaa, FoodAmbassador and Development Manager at St Monica Trust. They decided that, to address the chef shortage, chef apprenticeship training had to be more exciting, innovative and inspiring. They also needed an Outstanding college to help deliver this exciting programme.

“The chef shortage has been bubbling away for years but hardly anyone has looked at how we can fix this,” said Eggleton.

“This apprenticeship will give participants more time in professional kitchens. It’s designed to inspire chefs and set them up for success in what is an incredibly rewarding and creative industry.

“Nine typer cent of learning will be done in the kitchen, because we believe that the best way to learn about different food cultures and different methods of cooking is to be practical with it.”