Celebrated chef Bruno Loubet has launched the construction of a new state-of-the-art professional hospitality and catering academy.
The ground-breaking ceremony marked the start of construction of a new £5.7m centre that will open to more than 100 students in time for the 2013 academic year.
The academy in South London will focus on professional-standard training that will provide the industry with top-quality chefs and front-of-house staff.
Loubet, chef-patron of Bistrot Bruno Loubet in Clerkenwell, has been involved in advising South Thames College on the fit-out of the kitchens with the latest industry-standard equipment and has helped to develop the course curriculum to ensure the courses provide the skills and techniques required by industry.
Commenting on the project, he said he was very proud to be involved. "It's a pleasure to work with principal Sue Rimmer pictured, with Loubet] and the team at the college, who are really passionate about ensuring the curriculum reflects what is happening in the industry," he added.
"I look forward to conducting masterclasses and sharing my knowledge with students and hope that other chefs will be coming on board to do the same."
Facilities at the academy will include three teaching kitchens, a specialist pastry kitchen and flexible classroom spaces.
The building will also feature conference facilities as well as its own commercial restaurant open to the public, providing a real-world experience for both kitchen and front-of-house students.
The restaurant will include an open view kitchen providing diners with an interactive experience that will showcase the culinary skills and expertise of students.
The centre will also provide students with the latest technology using overhead cameras and television screens to view specific techniques and demonstrations from their own workspaces.
Rimmer, who joined Loubet on the construction site this morning, said: "Our aim is to be the top hospitality and catering school in south London. We recognise this is a growth sector which demands high quality staff - with the support of a top professional like Bruno, we can ensure we meet this challenge and become the preferred professional training centre for the industry.
"The fact that Bruno will be running a series of masterclasses will provide the quality and depth needed to give students a real advantage in gaining employment."
The academy will offer a comprehensive range of courses for young people and adults who are starting their catering career or developing their skills to a more advanced level. Courses will start in September 2013 and the college will be launching its portfolio at its open day in October.
For more information about the courses on offer visit the website at www.south-thames.ac.uk or visit the open day at the Merton Campus on Thursday 25 October from 3pm to 7pm.
By Janie Manzoori-Stamford
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