Chef Academy sees record number of graduates

Author: Joanna Flood
Date: May 19, 2023
Category: News

Chef Academy graduation

This week a record-breaking 66 talented chefs graduate from our Chef Academy.

One of the best nights in the calendar, the graduation and after party took place at 30 Euston Square in London with a crowd of over 200 cheering and celebrating their achievements.

Championing our future tastemakers, four rising stars were invited to share their recent industry successes. Roux Scholarship finalist Oliver Dovey, Oxford’s Junior Chef of the Year Asia Michelis, HIT Fired Up Chef Apprentice winner Jo Start and Craft Guild of Chef’s Rising Star, Jessica Simpson; have all been on the Chef Academy and shared their experiences.

Chatting to director of food, Greg Bramwell and our chef partner, Josh Eggleton they shared the need to step out their comfort zone to, in the words of Jo: “just give it a go and see what happens!”

Guest speakers included industry powerhouse, Lisa Goodwin-Allen, the executive chef at Northcote, and chef patron of high-end restaurants including Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill, Richard Corrigan. Both gave inspirational talks about their culinary careers and learnings along the way, sharing great advice for our graduates with Lisa encouraging graduates to “create their own path and carve their own identity through the food they make”.

Focused on the farm to fork journey, the Academy’s twelve-month jam-packed programme includes sessions at our Obsessed Lab, suppliers visits to local farms and fisheries including Mossgiel Milk and ChalkStream Trout, and masterclasses with chef partners including Josh Eggleton, Richard Corrigan and Kirk Haworth.

Reflecting on his night, level 4 chef, Ruchira Kariyawasam said “What an experience; I can’t believe I’ve graduated! I learnt so much that I know will help me progress in my career, especially learning from legends in our industry. Special thanks to Rik, Jon, Sam and my team for their unwavering support”.

To continue the party, FUEL traders brought authentic food stories to life. Tamales Station, Papi Chulo and NEED ice cream were on hand to keep guests fuelled with chicken and pork tacos, mini cinnamon doughnuts with dulce de leche sauce, shots of Aqua Jamaica and peanut butter and jam ice cream sandwiches.

Mixologist masters Dan Fellows, Chloe Walsh and Jana Slamova shook things up to the beat of live music with their coffee old fashioned cocktails and espresso tonic tangos.

Head of chef development, Rik Razza was full of pride saying: “I stand up here and feel extremely excited and I am proud of all you have achieved. We as trainers open the gates for you and you decide how far you walk into that field and nourish yourself. Set up in 2003, the Academy has seen more than 550 students graduate, with our record-breaking number of 66 graduating across levels 2, 3, 4 and 5”.

Ronan Harte, our CEO added: “We’re delighted to celebrate our 66 superstar graduates this year. Our Chef Academy reflects the Obsessed culture of our business where we champion individuality and innovation. We see the positive impact this learning has on our chefs as they learn, grow and find confidence; and nurturing this talent and celebrating their successes; is how we will continue to grow both the business and the industry”.

Next year will be even bigger and better as we’re set to have 160 chefs looking to graduate in 2024!