Chartwells has partnered with Compass Cymru to host the first Junior Chef Academy in Wales at St Joseph RC High School in Newport.
Over 10 weeks, Chartwells and Compass will deliver chef masterclasses for 16 students in years 10 and 11, providing them with hands-on experience to learn the skills needed to become a chef, while promoting the opportunities available within a career in hospitality.
The course, which is free of charge, will run after school hours on weekdays. A team of six chefs from Compass Cymru sites across the country will first share key skills, such as knife handling, before focusing on learning and developing dishes from a weekly theme, including local ingredients, bread and pizza, salads and healthy eating, and a meat masterclass, amongst others.
By supporting the National Food Strategy and school curriculum with practical sessions and information around food, the course aims to broaden the skills and knowledge of young culinary talent, equipping them with tools they can take through their education and beyond. The course promotes local sourcing, sustainability, nutrition, good hygiene, and healthy eating practices, and culminates with a celebratory graduation event where the students will be able to demonstrate their newfound cookery skills at a three-course dinner event, attended by special guests.
Jane Byrd, Managing Director of Compass Cymru, said: “This course gives students an in-depth understanding and experience of the skills needed to become a chef. We need to inspire the younger generation in Wales to make healthier, more sustainable choices while advocating the opportunities available to young people who are looking for a career in the hospitality industry. Hopefully this course will create a spark of excitement and engagement within students that leads to a fulfilling career in the kitchen.”
Mark Rowland, Business Manager at St Joseph RC High School, said: “The whole school community is excited about launching the first Junior Chef Academy in Wales in conjunction with our catering partner Chartwells. The level of interest from our students has been significant and the atmosphere in the room for the first session was truly inspiring. It was wonderful to see the commitment to learning by our amazing students, under the guidance of an experienced and talented team of chefs and industry experts. Whilst we hope the course will inspire some of the group to pursue a career as a chef or in the catering and hospitality industry, the many skills learned over the duration of this 10-week course will undoubtedly be invaluable to all those participating, not just now but into adult life, irrespective of whether they pursue they pursue a culinary career. On behalf of our students, we would like to extend our sincere thanks to those running the programme!”
Jonathan Foot, Head of Apprenticeships and Early Careers at Compass UK & Ireland, said: “As a business, we’re dedicated to enriching the learning of young people. This course demonstrates that this focus is not limited to serving nutritious and delicious meals, but also fuelling the inspiration of the next generation of chefs and sharing our insight and expertise during a crucial time in their development. This course will not only add great value to the students who undertake it, but it also forms part of our overarching strategy to champion a career with Chartwells, and the wider Compass UK & Ireland, providing a direct path onto our apprenticeships and career pathway programmes for students who wish to take the next step.”