The School of Food is the brainchild of renowned local chefs Josh Eggleton and Adrian Kirikmaa. The duo decided that to address the chef shortage, apprenticeship training had to be more exciting, innovative and inspiring. And so, backed by Ofsted outstanding-rated and Bristol Apprenticeship Provider of the Year Weston College, The School of Food was born.
And just a year after launch, The School of Food has already expanded, with classes taking place in Bristol and Weston, due to demand from both learners and employers.
What makes this programme different is that each apprentice is mentored by a professional chef, who provides regular assessments and workplace visits to monitor progress. They have access to The School of Food providing solutions to chef shortage Bristol-based chef training programme The School of Food is working with local restaurants to prepare talented young chefs for a career in the hospitality industry state-of-the-art facilities, including Weston College’s Grove 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.
The School of Food provides apprenticeship training for businesses across the South West, including Preo, Salt and Malt, and The Nut Tree.
One School of Food apprentice is employed at The Railway Inn, a pub in Sandford owned by Thatchers Cider. And they have been thrilled with the progress she has made. Emma Cox, talent development manager at Thatchers, said: “We decided to use The School of Food as our training provider for commis chefs due to the quality and breadth and training apprentices receive.
“The School of Food masterclasses have provided Jade (the apprentice) with expert industry-led training, innovative thinking and networking opportunities, giving her the confidence and ambition to succeed in her role as commis chef at The Railway Inn.
“We have been very impressed with Jade’s progress. She is enthusiastic and brings new skills back after every School of Food masterclass that she attends.
“We are excited to be part of The School of Food and are looking forward to taking on more commis chef apprentices in the future.”
These views were echoed by Charlie Hurrell, executive chef at Zazu’s Kitchen in Bristol. He said: “We were finding it hard to recruit young chefs with the relevant skills to come straight into our restaurant.
“The School of Food has blown us away with how quickly they have developed our apprentice.
“The impact of the masterclasses has been evident with Betty. She comes back with new skills each week, whether they apply to meat, poultry, or fish. Betty really is developing into an all-rounder with a broad skillset.”
The School of Food has also launched a traineeship programme. Traineeships are pre-apprenticeship programmes where learners are not paid, but gain basic skills and valuable experience before progressing into a paid apprenticeship programme.