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The School of Food launches

Young female chef is a striped apron prepares food on a stove

St Monica Trust’s, Adrian Kirikmaa and Bristol chef Josh Eggleton have joined forces with Weston College, St Katherine’s School and Ashton Gate Stadium to address the ever growing issue of attracting recruitment into the care and hospitality industries.

Together they have created The School of Food, the South West’s newest vocational programme for chefs.

The School of Food is open to young people looking for an entry point into the industry, as well as those already working within the care sector, restaurants, hotels and food businesses.

The course will be taught by chefs, offering apprenticeships across the South West with organisations like the St Monica Trust and offering visits to food producers, artisans and the opportunity to cook at high profile events and locations.

Giving young chefs the tools to succeed

Head of Catering at St Monica Trust, Adrian Kirikmaa and co-founder of The School of Food explained:

“We’ve been working closely with chefs, producers and educators to design a curriculum we feel will really benefit young chefs and give them all the tools they need to succeed.

“What we’re looking to do with The School of Food is to pair practical skills and food knowledge with actual industry experience in professional kitchens.

“By the St Monica Trust placing its support behind this project we’ll be helping to nurture the next generation of chefs who will be cooking for the Trust’s residents and customers for years to come.”

Students will complete a 12-month course, undertaking the Commis Chef Standard Intermediate Apprenticeship at Level 2.

Once completed this opens the door to a host of future opportunities as Bristol’s food and drink scene continues to boom, with a huge number of new openings in the last year alone, including B Block Pizzeria in The Chocolate Quarter.

New talent

However, the region’s success will be short-lived if the care and hospitality sectors cannot bring new talent into their kitchens. The hospitality industry in particular has been experiencing a huge drop in recruitment and retention for many years now.

Trade experts estimate that the industry will need to recruit 1.3 million new staff by 2024 in order to fuel market growth.

Josh Eggleton, Chef Patron at The Pony & Trap and The School of Food co-founder, said:

“The chef shortage is by no means a new thing, it’s been bubbling away for years.

“For so long people have been talking about why it’s happening, but hardly anyone has looked at how we can fix this.

“The School of Food is kind of the antithesis to that; it’s all about bringing through the future of the industry.

“This apprenticeship will give participants more time in professional kitchens, designed to inspire chefs and show them just what they can achieve and really set them up for success in what is an incredibly rewarding and creative industry.”

State of the art facilities

The School of Food curriculum will cover everything from food preparation and nutrition through to chef and knife skills, food knowledge, how to take stock and even the financial aspects of working in a kitchen.

Students will be mentored by a professional chef who will provide regular assessments and regular workplace visits to monitor progress.

They will have the chance to use state of the art facilities at B Block Pizzeria, The Grove Restaurant at Weston College, The Leaf at Ham Green run by St Katherine’s School and Ashton Gate Stadium, which since it’s redevelopment, has become the largest conference and hospitality events venue in the South West.

The School of Food has already received the backing of a number of chefs from Bristol, the South West and further afield.

The likes of Elliot Lidstone of Box-E, Casamia’s Peter Sanchez-Iglesias and Great British Menu star Tommy Banks have all backed the School as a positive force for the industry.

You can find out more about The School of Food by going to www.school-of-food.co.uk/.