Contract caterer BaxterStorey has graduated a further 37 students from its Chef Academy training programme, with Michelin-starred chefs John Campbell and Philip Howard on hand to celebrate their achievements.
The programme has qualified 151 chefs in five courses, ranging from NVQ level 2 through to BA or BSc degree in International Culinary Arts, since its launch in 2006.
BaxterStorey chief executive Noel Mahony said that the capability of the company's chefs was fundamental to the success of the business.
"As such, we continually strive to offer the very best development opportunities and mentors through our Chef Academy and that's why we are able to attract and retain the best chefs," he added.
Over 200 people attended the graduation event, held at the British Medical Association in London last night. Philip Howard, the two-Michelin-starred chef-owner of the Square, was guest speaker and delivered an inspirational speech to the graduates.
Alastair Storey, chairman of BaxterStorey's parent firm WSH, told the assembled guests that it would be so easy in this economy to "turn the tap off; to stop training. But now is time to do more; to invest."
The training programme was introduced after BaxterStorey identified the need for chefs to have a higher level of technical skills and the demand for formal, long-term career development.
From teaching basic skills, such as recognising different meat cuts to filleting fish and making pastry, the courses offer inspirational learning opportunities such as visiting food markets, fisheries and suppliers, which help to raise understanding and appreciation of food provenance.
Trainee chefs are also given the chance to put their skills into practice with a week's tuition with one of BaxterStorey's Signature Chefs - John Campbell, Nigel Haworth, Mark Hix and Tom Kitchin.
By Janie Stamford
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