The latest cohort of apprentices have graduated from the School of Food with a 100% pass rate. What’s more, 95% achieved a distinction, all have gained full-time employment and 90% have earned a promotion. So how was this achieved?
The School of Food chef training programme is unique – it works with local restaurants to prepare talented young chefs for a career in the hospitality industry.
It provides state-of-the-art facilities, including Weston College’s Grove training kitchen and restaurant, and weekly masterclasses at Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol. The classes are run by top Bristol chefs, including Josh Eggleton, Toby Gritten from The Pump House, Rob Howell from Root, and George Livesey from Bulrush.
Each apprentice is mentored by a professional chef, who provides regular assessments and workplace visits to monitor progress.
Apprentices learn the skills they need – plus what is ‘hot’ in the industry now!
One of the shining stars in this (fourth) cohort is Elliot, who achieved straight distinctions. Elliot, who is doing his apprentice at Puro Dinning in Clevedon, aims to become a Michelin-starred chef. He believes The School of Food has set him on the path to achieving it.
He said: “I decided to join The School of Food as food and cooking has always been my passion. My godmother is a really good cook and she has been an inspiration to me. When I was younger we used to cook together, so I knew I wanted to be a chef from a very young age.
“When I saw The School of Food advertised with weekly masterclasses taught by local Michelin-starred chefs, it really grabbed my attention.
“The masterclasses, which teach a diverse range of techniques, have exceeded my expectations. A great example is one we had from a local fishmonger – an area I lacked experience in.
“We were shown how to gut and fillet a salmon and several mackerel. It didn’t stop there as the masterclasses go into real depth. We were also shown how to trim and pin bone, as well being taught about different types of cuts and cooking techniques.
“The whole process of getting an apprenticeship was very easy. I received great support from The School of Food and Weston College. My College assessors actually comes to me as well which saves me travelling to Weston. I really enjoy my apprenticeship and the team give me expert training.
“My long-term ambition is to gain Rosettes (a cooking accreditation award) and also to become a Michelin-starred chef in the future. The School of Food has also helped me to get the ball rolling on this. Through the programme I have been taught key skills in a range of areas including butchery, fish mongering and desserts, which I have been able to perfect during my apprenticeship.”
Elliott points out that The School of Food doesn’t only teach students to cook – it also helps them in many other aspects of their career.
He said: “I have received a large amount of support. Not only are my College tutors at every practical session, but they offer great support on the theory, which has really developed my knowledge. They have also supported me with my functional skills (English, maths and ICT). This would have been a real struggle for me without their help.”
“We are extremely proud of our chef Elliot who has been with us since day one. Congratulations Chef!” (@purorestaurant).
Don Lamy, Manager, PURO goes on to say “It has been extremely rewarding in many ways to watch Elliot develop as a chef but also as a young man. He is a very important part of our team.”
Brian Howe, Training Manager for The School of Food, said; “We are extremely proud of each and every apprentice.
“It’s great to see that the programme is allowing apprentices to thrive in their career. We’re committed to delivering exciting, innovative and inspiring chef skills training, encouraging talented people of all ages and backgrounds to join The School of Food, and growing local talent.”
Dave Crew, Project Director for The School of Food, said; “The School of Food is celebrating its 1 year anniversary in April, we have recruited four groups of chef apprentices to study at our two training centres, Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol and at our Grove training restaurant in Weston-super-Mare. We’ve also been highly commended at the 2018 Crumbs Awards and the 2019 Bristol Life Awards for education.
“A huge thanks to the project partners – St Monica Trust, the Pony & Trap, Weston College and Ashton Gate Stadium. We’re making exciting plans to expand The School of Food in 2019/20 and to train more talented chefs across the South West.”
If you would like to join the chef training revolution visit www.school-of-food.co.uk.
You can find the latest apprenticeship vacancies here.
Alternatively, join the School of Food team to find out more at:
- Open evening, Thursday 13th June @ Weston College, South West Skills Campus, Locking Rd, Weston-super-Mare BS22 8ND.
- Festival of Learning, Saturday 15th June @ Italian Gardens/Winter Gardens Pavilion, Weston-super-Mare.