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The Corporation

Posted: 16/12/16

Chefs feed their hunger for knowledge

A pilot programme designed to hone the skills of chefs with the UK’s leading short break provider, Center Parcs, has seen such a success that it’s running again through West Nottinghamshire College.

  • The latest intake of student chefs ready for their challenge
  • Chef Connor Shafto with his completed challenge dishes

The ‘Aspire Chef Development Programme’ has already developed the skills of 18 chefs who work across the many restaurants at Center Parcs. A further 14 have now embarked on the specially-designed training scheme - being run in the college’s industry-standard kitchens in Mansfield.

The new intake of chefs visited the college’s kitchens in November to meet with tutors and take part in a ‘Ready, Steady, Cook-style’ carrier bag challenge where they cooked up and presented their own meal using a set number of ingredients.

This session was one of the first three-day workshop sessions which the group will take part in, in order to hone their cooking techniques such as shallow-frying, slow-cooking, roasting and boiling while also learning the importance of food hygiene and preparation.

Industry trained chef tutors at the college will be delivering the programmes which will continue running as three-day workshops until November 2017 when the group celebrates with current and past students with a graduation three-course meal.

West Nottinghamshire College has had a long-standing training relationship with Center Parcs, as the sole provider of work-based training for hospitality and catering, food and beverage services, housekeeping and customer services.

Training is usually delivered at each of its holiday villages in Nottinghamshire, Suffolk, Wiltshire, Cumbria and Bedfordshire, but this specialist programme will bring all chefs together at the college’s own industry-style kitchens.

Employer engagement manager at the college, Ann Ramsay, said: “It’s a pleasure once again to be hosting this specialist programme to develop the very specialist skills of the chefs. We enjoy watching them progress and gather confidence as they hone the techniques which they use so widely in the Center Parcs kitchens.

“We will be introducing an external visit for this group so they can go to Grimsby docks where they can see the fish catching and fileting process from beginning to end. This experience will aid them in their understanding and production of a range of fish dishes.”

Tracy Walker, Group Training and Development Manager for Center Parcs, said: “We are really excited to be working with the college to deliver our chef development programme.

“Last year’s graduates are already experiencing the benefits of the programme with a number achieving promotions in their roles and bringing new energy to our teams.”