TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage business is to open an expanded cookery school, as it branches out from teaching amateur cooks to professional chefs at its base in Axminster.
The cookery school now has City & Guilds accreditation and will offer courses for individual professional chefs, as well as those from restaurant groups. Courses on offer include: a professional cookery level 2 apprenticeship; accredited one-day workshops to allow chefs to build skills they do not currently have; a young chef's apprenticeship scheme; and a professional cookery level 3 apprenticeship.
Rob Greacen, director of River Cottage, said the new venture, which is set to open on 1 April on the extended site of River Cottage's existing cookery school, had been driven by a need for more skilled chefs in River Cottage's own Canteen restaurant and deli business.
"One of the reasons we have got more interested in this is that we have been opening our own restaurants called Canteens and looking at the quality of staff that have come in and it has become pretty clear to us that there is more and more requirement for training and development of chefs, so we see this school as fitting in with the expansion of the River Cottage business and hopefully expanding the skillset that we can offer," he said.
There are currently two River Cottage Canteens, in Plymouth and Axminster. A new 140-cover site is expected to open in Bristol at the end of this month, with another planned for Winchester later in the year.
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By Neil Gerrard
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