Chef Academy sees record number of graduates

Author: Joanna Flood
Date: May 28, 2024
Category: News

Chef Academy graduation

On Friday 24th May, a record-breaking 89 chefs, 27 of whom were female, graduated from our Chef Academy.

One of the biggest nights in the calendar, the graduation and after party took place at IET London: Savoy Place with a crowd of over 300 cheering and celebrating their achievements.

Championing our future taste makers, our female powerhouses and Project Knead bakers, Mel Andrews, Denise Dowling, and Asia Michelis, who have all been on the Chef Academy, shared their experiences.

Winner of Great British Menu 2024 and chef partner, Kirk Haworth was a guest speaker. He gave an inspirational talk about his culinary career and learnings along the way, sharing great advice for our graduates including, “great food comes from happy people, so it’s our job as a collective to ensure happiness within kitchen culture. Every one of us with a chef jacket on today is responsible and accountable to make the future better for the next generation”.

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

Reflecting on his night, level 4 chef, Albert Addison said “I have loved my time on the Academy and I’d recommend it to anyone. It’s given me the opportunity to cook so many new recipes, from casseroles to baking bread, and I’m able to put what I’ve learnt into practice back at my location, Hilton Seafood in Grimsby. I’ve also been promoted from head chef to chef manager which wouldn’t have been possible without John, Rik and the team”.

Head of chef development, Rik Razza was beaming with pride, saying: “Tonight is all about celebrating this amazing array of people, who are all graduating with an 80% + distinction rate”.

Greg Bramwell, director of food and beverage added: “Our Chef Academy reflects the Obsessed culture of our business where we champion individuality and innovation. It gives me great honour to see so many chef jackets in the room today, as you wear them with pride and passion. When you leave this room you celebrate, but it’s what happens when you go back to your locations with all the wonderful work you’ve learnt, as you keep investing in yourself, your team and the business, to delight your customers”.

To continue the party, FUEL traders brought authentic food stories to life. Jou Jous, Raastawala, Wave Gelato and Milky’s were on hand to keep guests fuelled with slow cooked pork belly and BBQ gochujang chicken rice bowls, Kolkata katafi rolls, waffle sticks, and cheesecake ice-cream.

Mixologist masters Dan Fellows, Jana Slamova, Chloe Walsh, and Extract shook things up to the beat of the live band with their berry breeze mocktails and Ascara Negroni tonic and Long Island iced coffee cocktails.

Ronan Harte, our CEO commented: “I’ve been coming to the Chef Academy graduation for fifteen years and I have never failed to be completely and utterly blown away by the spirit that exists every single time. To have 89 chefs graduating tonight is astounding and reflects the resounding success of the Academy. I’m always humbled to be here, so thank you to the commitment you’ve shown and the hard work you do to balance your day jobs with the training. I am incredibly proud of you all”.

You can watch all the action over on our YouTube channel.