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The Chefs’ Forum Academy – One Year On

23 October 2017

Three top chefs and an award-winning butcher joined forces to inspire and enthuse young chefs at Gloucestershire College’s Cheltenham Campus last week. The Chefs’ Forum Academy brings prolific chefs from Cheltenham, the Cotswolds, Bath and beyond into the College every Monday to deliver cookery masterclasses in their individual cooking styles.

The Chefs’ Forum Academy was launched last year to enrich the learning of students at the College. It is really important that students engage with local employers and industry experts to gain real insight into the world of work whilst still training so they are work-ready on leaving college. The One Year On event saw Jon Howe (Lumiere, Cheltenham), Daniel Moon (The Gainsborough, Bath), Richard Davies (Calcot Manor, Tetbury) and award-winning butcher Jack Cook (Walter Rose & Sons, Devizes) stage a fantastic day of demos. The chefs also worked with the students to create some fantastic canapés showcasing their individual menus.

Mark Hyde-Catton, Chef Lecturer and Coordinator of The Chefs’ Forum Academy at Gloucestershire College stated: “The students have really enjoyed their sessions with the visiting chefs this year and have given very overwhelmingly positive feedback on their experiences with the visiting culinary experts.

“The Chefs’ Forum Academy is a valuable platform that offers employer engagement and a fantastic opportunity for them to build relationships with local chefs and employers and secure work experience placements with them.”

The move to bring local chefs and experts into the college to work with the students serves to galvanise existing relationships with local employers and further-reinforce industry links for the college. 

Chefs’ Forum Founder Catherine Farinha commented: “I am delighted to celebrate a hugely successful first year of The Chefs’ Forum Academy at Gloucestershire College. I see this project rolling-out to other colleges we currently work with. It was highly rewarding to see so many Executive Chefs, Head Chefs, Restaurant Managers and key HR personnel at the college today – a show of strength and support of this fantastic college and the staff and students who make it great.” 

This past year has seen industry experts, suppliers and top chefs working with students at the College to impart knowledge on diverse specialist subjects including butchery, pastry, seasonality, pastry, CV Skills, world food, game and foraging. In addition to the chefs taking part in the event, experts from industry-leading properties including Lucknam Park, Cowley Manor, The Feathered Nest, Berwick Lodge, The Lazy Dog and Brinda’s Mauritian Delights have all pledged their time and involvement in The Chefs’ Forum Academy at Gloucestershire College.

The Chefs’ Forum and the College are very much looking forward another successful year that is already underway with curriculum enrichment sessions timetabled to take place every teaching Monday of the academic year 2017/18.

In addition to this fantastic scheme of learning, local secondary schools will also be invited to an industry taster event at the Forest of Dean campus on the 20 February 2018 in an attempt to encourage 14-16-year olds from surrounding schools to enter into the hospitality industry, also helping combat the national chef shortage. 

The Chefs’ Forum Academy also acts as a feeder to The Cotswold Star Academy which offers just fifteen places a year to budding Chefs de Partie and Hospitality Supervisors on a 12-month training programme; guaranteeing them employment with one of the partner employers The Calcot Collection, Farncombe Estate, Ellenborough Park and The Lucky Onion Group.

There are a limited number of places for The Cotswold Star Academy left, starting in January. Those interested should send their CV and covering letter to Jo.O'Connell@gloscol.ac.uk 

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