Underpinned by the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts and the Craft Guild of Chefs, Academies are open to year 10 and 11 pupils and provide students with the opportunity to learn about food preparation, cooking, presentation, hygiene, safety, team work, organisational skills and food service techniques.
Academies are endorsed by a number of high profile chefs and restaurateurs who have become honorary professors including Heston Blumenthal, Brian Turner CBE, Lorraine Pascale, Raymond Blanc and James Martin.
The Academies are taught on Saturdays with the Westminster Kingsway College delivering the course over 5 weeks and the University of West London over a 10 week period. They’ve been so successful that they’ve expanded to meet demand and the University of West London also include Asian food and baking.
On completion of the course students attend a graduation ceremony where lunch is provided and each receives a medal and certificate. To date, the University of West London has seen in excess of 2,500 students attend with The Geoffrey Harrison Foundation contributing to over 360 of these. Many students progress onto full time catering courses when they leave school, an accolade to the support of The Geoffrey Harrison Foundation and hard work and dedication of the students.
The Junior Chefs’ Academy teaches young people about food preparation and cookery techniques using fresh ingredients, simple nutrition and basic kitchen hygiene and safety. The event was marked by a three course lunch prepared by the junior chefs for their parents and guardians in Pillars, the University of West London’s fine dining training restaurant. Ben Purton, Executive Chef of the Lancaster Hotel presented the graduates with medals and certificates during the lunch.
Gareth commented “it is a privilege to be able to support young people and see them develop through their training. The foundation exists to advance education and learning and I believe that these students will be an absolute asset to any future establishment”.
Applications are still open for the next Junior Chefs’ Academy enrolment date, 24 September 2016. For more information, contact Sadie Higham (email@example.com).
The year 10 and 11 students have participated in the Junior Chefs Academy held at University of West London and the Young Chef Academy at Westminster Kingsway College.
Since the Foundation began supporting these academies in January 2012 a total of 34 of the 10 week Saturday morning courses have been held.
The Foundation is grateful to The Savoy Educational Trust, which has provided matched funding for the academies since 2013.
Geoffrey Harrison said: “All of us at the Foundation are immensely proud to be able to support the Young Chef Academy at Westminster Kingsway College. Attracting new talent into the catering and hospitality industry is vital to its continued growth and the academy is doing just that by giving young people a taste of what the industry has to offer, while teaching them real, applicable skills they can use to build a career.”
Gary Hunter, Head of Faculty for Hospitality and Culinary Arts at Westminster Kingsway College, said: “We are so appreciative of the support from The Geoffrey Harrison Foundation for our Young Chef Academy students. These ten week courses are delivered throughout the academic year on Saturdays by our dedicated lecturers, and the students prepare and serve at their graduation lunch to their family as a celebration event. Many of the young chefs have gone onto our Professional Chef Diploma and Chef Apprenticeship programmes. Every graduation is supported by a representative from The Geoffrey Harrison Foundation and we value this partnership and hands-on approach that they undertake. To play a significant role in shaping the younger generation’s dream and future is a great honour.”
Photo caption: The latest class to graduate the Young Chef Academy at Westminster Kingsway College, pictured with their chef instructor (back row, centre), Foundation Trustee Richard Harrison (back row, right) and Willy Bauer OBE, Chairman of AB Hotels (seated), who was there to support his grandson (standing next to him).
Dr B’s is a Barnardo’s Service, with over 25 years of experience working with young people to improve the skills required to give them a better chance in life. The restaurant is open to the public and enables Dr B’s to deliver a work-based, hands-on vocational training programme in hospitality and catering.
Programmes are tailored to each individual young person, who range in age from 14 to 24, and include training in functional math, English and ICT skills, healthy lifestyle, CV preparation and job seeking skills, personal development and teamwork, as well as nationally recognised and accredited qualifications.
David Palmer of the Trusts Team at Barnardo’s said: ‘Everyone at Dr B’s Training Restaurant was thrilled to learn of The Geoffrey Harrison Foundation’s very generous offer of support. The donation will enable the team at Dr B’s to invest in the front of house facilities at the restaurant, and this will benefit our customers, whose patronage makes it possible for us to provide a training environment for our young people’.
Geoffrey Harrison said: ‘The work Dr B’s is doing to support young people in developing the skills to be able to progress further in training and into employment is vitally necessary and in complete alignment with the Foundation’s goals. We’re delighted to be able to support this important work.’
Work with young people is at the forefront of Springboard’s charity objectives, and it sees young people as the future of the industry, the lifeblood in sustaining the celebrated UK hospitality, leisure and tourism sector. The Young People Award recognises the most successful initiative specifically designed to attract young people into the industry, particularly from education and into work.
The Geoffrey Harrison Foundation currently supports two courses designed to give year 10 and 11 students an introduction to the hospitality industry: the Saturday morning Junior Chefs Academy held at University of West London (UWL), Ealing, and the Young Chef Academy at Westminster Kingsway College (WKC), Victoria. Over 70 per cent of the students participating in the courses go on to pursue a full-time course for a career in the hospitality industry.
Gareth Harrison, Joint Managing Director of Harrison Catering Services and Foundation trustee, said: ‘We’re pleased that the excellent work that The Geoffrey Harrison Foundation is doing to introduce young people to the hospitality industry has been recognised with this award. My fellow directors and I have seen in action the impact the chefs’ academies that the Foundation supports have on the students, and we remain committed to helping young people with an interest in catering to develop their skills and start down a successful career path’.
Many of these young people have never had the opportunity to learn about food, as many schools do not include it in the curriculum. By sponsoring the Academy, The Geoffrey Harrison Foundation has created an inclusive programme which exposes young people to the world of food and hospitality, offering them an enhanced educational experience and lifestyle, improving their life chances, building their knowledge of food and giving them confidence in practical kitchens, while allowing them to participate in a team activity.
Teachers and parents have commented on the successful outcomes which have an overall effect on the students’ social and personal development.
Professor David Foskett, Head of School, said: “The Foundation’s commitment in pioneering the Junior Chefs Academy has resulted in a positive development with a caring approach to helping young people to improve and develop their learning”.
So far, nine groups of 12 young chefs have completed the 10 week programme, building their culinary skills week by week and running the end of course graduation lunch event too.
The graduation event is a chance for the aspiring chefs to show their parents what they have been learning. At graduation events held so far, guests have enjoyed a tapas-themed and a modern British-themed lunch. Parents have also been asking if there might be a follow up course offered too!
This year we are expecting almost 100 young chefs to take part in the programme, all having the opportunity to progress onto our full-time training or apprenticeship programmes when they leave school. Chef lecturer Jonathan Warner said: “This is an excellent opportunity to develop culinary skills and knowledge as well as developing teamwork and other life skills too”.
Front of House tutor Zoe Adjey added: “We involve our BTEC national Hospitality Management students in some of the graduation events as it is an opportunity for the young chefs to talk first hand to current students and find out what college life is like”.
Geoff Booth, Vice Principal at Westminster Kingsway College, said: “This has been a resounding success. We look forward to many more to come”.
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