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Junior Chefs – success story

16 February 2006

In last week's Caterer you ran a correction stating that the Junior Chefs' Academy was the initiative of People 1st (Caterer, 9 February, page 15). I think I need to put the facts straight.

The Junior Chefs' Academy started more than eight years ago here at Thames Valley University, Ealing. It emerged from the Academy of Culinary Arts Adopt-a-School programme, which then concentrated only on primary school children. I approached Brian Turner for Academy of Culinary Arts backing for a secondary school course to run on Saturdays. He felt it was an excellent idea, and thanks to Brian, the Junior Chefs' Academy has become a great success.

Then four years ago Don Davenport of Compass became interested in sponsoring, provided Thames Valley University shared its experiences with other colleges to encourage them to offer the same provision. David Mulcahy was instrumental at this stage, and thanks to him there are now many centres offering young people the opportunity to sample at first hand real food preparation and cooking - to help them decide a career option and to assist them in life skills.

As a further result, more and more schools have decided to offer the Btec First in hospitality and catering.

There's a keen interest among young people and a thirst for food knowledge. The tide is beginning to turn in our favour.

Professor David Foskett
Thames Valley University

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