Chef Peter Gorton is backing a new Restaurant Academy in Plymouth designed to combine modern brasserie dining with a centre of excellence to train a new generation of young hospitality professionals.
The Devon-based chef, who owns Gorton's restaurant in Tavistock, has been advising on the menus for the new venture, opened by skills training agency Synergy.
Plymouth-based Synergy, which offers commercial and Government-funded training provision across the South of England and Wales, has set up the new academy in the former 5-11 bistro in Millbay Road in the centre of the city.
The company has invested £80,000 to transform it into a high quality training academy that will also run as a working restaurant offering, breakfast, lunch and evening meals.
He has also recruited Matthew Bishop, who has previously worked at Maze in London under Jason Atherton.
Synergy also plans other academies both in Plymouth and elsewhere.
Gorton said: "This is a very exciting venture and one I am equally excited to be supporting as I believe it will make a real difference to hospitality skills training both in Plymouth and across the region."
"Businesses throughout Devon are crying out for well-trained skilled chefs and other food and drink staff to maintain the great tradition we have in this part of the world for quality restaurants and bistros.
"You only have to look at the number of well-known chefs who have chosen Devon as a base for new ventures to recognise that.
"This new restaurant academy will help plug that skills gap in what is an ever growing sector and I believe it is the kind of business model that in the future will become the established route for young aspiring chefs looking to use as a springboard to a successful career in the industry."
The academy is recruiting a total of six chefs, aged 16 to 21, and nine front of house staff, aged 18 to 23, who will be trained in waiting tables, as well as learning bar skills and barista skills.
They will be enrolled onto Synergy's range of Level 2 Apprenticeship programmes covering hospitality, which includes diplomas in professional cookery, food production and cooking, and food and beverage.
Synergy chief executive Gavin Jones said: "I am thrilled that we have such a distinguished industry professional in Peter Gorton supporting this venture.
"His knowledge and expertise, both as a respected chef and a consultant will be invaluable in helping to establish the Restaurant Academy as a real centre of excellence, with a reputation for moulding the finest hospitality professionals in the business."