Exclusive Hotels and Venues are to launch a Chef's Academy, at which commis chefs will be able to work alongside Steven Edwards, the newly crowned champion of the 2013 series of MasterChef: The Professionals.
Headed up by Andy Mackenzie, the group's former executive chef of Lainston House Hotel, the academy will offer an intensive two-year training programme for commis chefs with at least one year's experience.
It will provide work opportunities in the company's six restaurants and conference and banqueting facilities, where the trainees will be able to draw on experience of three Michelin starred chefs: Michael Wignall at Pennyhill Park, Matt Gillan at South Lodge, and Richard Davies at the Manor House Hotel & Golf Club, as well as Edwards and Denis Drame, the recent recipient of the Master of Culinary Arts in Pastry.
The training will provide the recruits with all the training they need to progress to chef de partie level. As well as working across the group's six properties, they will also attend master classes and workshops, and visit a myriad of top-class producers.
MacKenzie, who has worked for Exclusive Hotels for more than 27 years, said he was "really excited and very proud" to be heading up the Exclusive Chef's Academy.
"During my time with Exclusive I have performed hundreds of cooking demonstrations at schools, colleges, food festivals and even radio stations and was also instrumental in launching Create & Cook, a cookery competition aimed at showcasing the culinary skills of young people across Hampshire, Sussex and the Isle of Wight. I am now looking forward to transferring those skills to these talented chefs, supported by the executive chefs across the group."
The six-strong portfolio of Exclusive Hotels and Venues include: Pennyhill Park, Bagshot, Surrey; Lainston House, Winchester, Hampshire; South Lodge, Horsham, West Sussex; Manor House, Castle Coombe, Wiltshire; Fanhams Hall, Ware, Hertfordshire; and Royal Berkshire, Ascot, Berkshire.
The Exclusive Chef's Academy is due to launch in July 2014.