We are incredibly proud to share that our venue group, Ideal Collection, has sponsored City College Southampton‘s Chef’s Academy Course and we recently had the pleasure to attend their Graduation event which was fantastic! Here is what City College Southampton had to say about the course, students and sponsors:

City College Southampton has just completed its first ever Young Chefs’ Academy, an after-school course for school children in years 9, 10 and 11.  The Young Chefs’ Academy ran over six weeks and was designed to give school pupils their first taste of life in a professional kitchen and to inspire the next generation of chefs.

During the six week course the Young Chefs learnt about food and knife safety, breads and doughs, fresh pasta making, preparation of poultry, desserts and much, much more. All the Young Chefs were from different schools and didn’t know each other at the start of the course, but their interest in cooking meant they soon stopped being shy and learnt to work together as a team.

At the end of the course, to celebrate their newly learnt cooking skills the Young Chefs prepared a formal, two course dinner in City College’s Aspire Restaurant for their parents and for the businesses who had generously sponsored the Academy. 

One of the participants, Amelia Nicholson from Hamble School, was so inspired by the Academy that she has entered the Rotary Young Chefs Competition. Amelia won her local heat using the bread making skills she learnt during the second week of the course and will now compete in the regional finals.

Amelia said ‘I really enjoyed the baking parts of the course and although I do Food and Nutrition at school this course at college has taught me so much more. It is very in depth, we even learnt about the science of food and how the ingredients react together which was very interesting. I feel that this course has given me greater skills and confidence in the kitchen. Being able to serve the food we had cooked was also rewarding as we got to see everyone enjoying it.”

Her mother commented that the course ‘has sent my daughter’s love of cooking into orbit!’ and that the generosity of sponsors in financially supporting the Academy ‘has enabled my daughter to experience a new level of cooking confidence and understanding, way above my expectations. The course has inspired my daughter to look at careers possibly working as a chef below deck.’

Another Young Chef Joseph, from Hythe, said ‘I found the course really fun it was a good opportunity to gain new skills, I really enjoyed the sweets and puddings sections. I have learnt a lot about cooking in general, it was interesting hearing about how to develop a career in the industry …. I feel so much more comfortable in the kitchen now.’

Simon Hart, the course leader added ‘I think its key we work together with our suppliers and local businesses to help young people find out about possible careers in the area.   I am so proud by how much the Young Chefs have developed and learnt in only six weeks and I hope they take their enthusiasm back to their schools and inspire others.’

The course was generously supported by businesses in the Hospitality sector – Ideal Collection, Carey’s Manor, The Montagu Arms, Essential Cuisine, Comax, J.S Fish and Pressing Needs.   All the sponsors are very keen to support young people finding out more about working in this dynamic sector, which offers many careers in Southampton and across the Solent region.  Their support enabled a wide range of young people to participate.

Oliver Weeks of Ideal Collection said “The Young Chefs Academy is something we just had to sponsor.  There is such a skill shortage in our sector people do not realise how bad it actually is. If we want young people to see this as a career we need to get them interested at a younger age.  The evening was such a success, food was excellent, but seeing the young children getting excited by food, with some parents mentioning their children considering becoming chefs is such an achievement. The hospitality sector needs to support such initiatives, as solving the problem really does start here!”

Sarah Stannard, Principal and Chief Executive, commented ‘We are delighted to be working with local businesses to enthuse and inform students.  Through this course we have started to create the next generation of chefs, through giving them a brand new experience.  Very many thanks to the business sponsors, without whom this course wouldn’t have been possible’

To find out more about the technical professional courses and apprenticeships at City College visit www.southampton-city.ac.uk.


[Image: Young Chef Joseph preparing desserts]

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