River Cottage to open professional cooking school

Aspiring chefs may soon have a place to professionally gain qualifications, under the hand of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. The famous chef’s River Cottage restaurant in Devon will open a new cookery school that will teach chefs key valuable skills.

A three-course meal

The cookery school will offer three types of courses to aspiring chefs. The main programme will be a 12-month Professional Cookery Level 2 Apprenticeship which will offer monthly workshops and will result in a formal certification. This apprenticeship is targeted at those who are currently employed in hospitality jobs as a chef or professional cook at ‘chef de partie’ or ‘commis’ level. All students will receive a tutor that will both visit and mentor them on a regular basis.

For younger chefs who are a dab hand in the kitchen, the 12-month Young Chefs’ Apprenticeship Scheme will aim to place such students in full-time employment. Being completely free, workshops and mentoring will fully assess each student. The scheme is set to begin in September and is currently open for applications.

For those who want speedy training, one-day workshops start from £180. With over 12 different sectors to choose from, chefs will be able to learn more about specialised subject areas such as game and baking bread. All students will gain a nationally recognised City & Guild qualification.

Learning with ethics

Keeping with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s ethics, the school will place a specific focus on political issues such as sourcing, sustainability, seasonality and traceability. Fearnley-Whittingstall said in a statement: “There has been a renaissance in British restaurant cookery in recent years. Not just in terms of the style of cooking and techniques now being employed, but also – more crucially in my view – in the approach of chefs to sourcing their food, embracing good provenance, and choosing their recipes.”

There will also be training in sourcing local produce, regional ingredients and adopting traditional methods when cooking. This allows businesses to run in a more sustainable method, and Fearnley-Whittingstall hopes that this will bring major “innovation” to the hospitality sector.

Tutors involved in the scheme hope that industry leaders, development managers, local business holders and aspiring chefs will all get involved in the courses. From the farm to the stove, these courses will be a unique insight into the world of River Cottage.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall was recently seen in ‘Hugh’s Fish Fight’ on Channel 4, which examined reducing fish stocks due to the overfishing which is taking place around the world in the wrong seasons.

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