We celebrated the achievements of our thirty four chefs on this year’s award-winning Chef Academy programme, at a graduation presentation held at 30 Euston Square, London.
The chefs, from across UK and Ireland, were joined by more than 220 people at the ceremony. Guest speaker John Williams MBE, Executive Chef of The Ritz and The Woodspeen’s John Campbell, a long-time supporter of the academy were amongst our teams there to join in the celebrations.
Since its launch in 2003, the academy has seen more than 300 students graduate from its courses, providing them with a variety of specialist qualifications including NVQ2, NVQ3 and a BSC in Culinary Arts.
The four-tiered programme consists of inspiring and challenging courses, designed to develop future chefs and apprentices to excel within the kitchen. Open to all chefs within our business, the academy develops their kitchen finance skills, leadership techniques, culinary talent, creative thinking, nutrition knowledge and communication skills. The chefs also experience learning opportunities such as visiting food markets and fisheries, following farm to fork processes.
Commenting on the graduates success, Head of Chef Development Rik Razza said: “We challenge individuals on the course and as a result, 50% of the Chefs this year have had a promotion since they started on the academy”.
Alongside certificate presentations, special awards were given to individual chefs praised for their outstanding achievements including Chef of the Year, Best Average Assignment Score, Best Chef Trainer, Most Improved Chef, Spirit of the Trainer and Spirit of the Academy.
Level 2 Chef Dona Murray, Chef De Partie at Mercedes Benz said: “I started with BaxterStorey as a kitchen porter, and wanted to develop my career within the business. The academy has not only developed me as a chef, but also as a person. I’ve become more organised and confident, and have learnt various new cooking processes.
“I most enjoyed the day trips to the farms and fisheries, learning the importance of seasonality and how I can consider this when creating dishes for my menus. Since my time on the academy, I have been promoted to Chef De Partie. I aspire to become Sous Chef in the near future, enabling me to further develop my leadership skills”.
Chairman Alastair Storey said: “The Chef Academy has been an absolute exemplar of what is good about this business; there has been an incredible spirit among the graduates tonight. Our business will only be as good as the people in it, so I’m deeply appreciative of the hard work that has gone in to this programme”.