Gordon Ramsay's plans to launch a catering academy in the UK have been met with a mixed response from the hospitality industry.
Speaking exclusively to Caterer last week, Ramsay revealed that his "next big thing" would be a catering school. "I'm fed up with the NVQ standards and with what's coming out of our catering schools," Ramsay said. "I want to set up my own apprentice scheme, where students will experience everything from a most amazing pub, to a one-, two-, or three-Michelin-starred establishment."
David Foskett, professor of hospitality at Thames Valley University, said Ramsay's criticism - which echoed the views of Oliver Peyton and Marco Pierre White - was short-sighted.
"We are developing chefs for the whole spectrum of hospitality, including restaurants, contract catering and hospitals. Michelin-starred restaurants make up just 3% of the whole industry," he said. "Running an education and training course is a different ball game from running a restaurant."
The danger with the "constant sniping", Foskett warned, was that the Government would stop funding catering colleges altogether.
However, Graham Eveleigh, training and development director at BaxterStorey, which runs its own Chefs Academy programme, welcomed Ramsay's announcement.
"This is a very positive move that sets a good impression and shows that industry leaders care about investing in people and developing the industry," he said. "Ramsay's plan to offer students a range of different opportunities from a pub to a florist shows he's not just focusing on fine dining. He has the opportunity to produce top-notch training."
By Kerstin Kühn
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