Pembrokeshire College Celebrates the Launch of The Chefs’ Forum Academy!

Pembrokeshire College is delighted to announce the launch of The Chefs’ Forum Academy at the college. Top Chefs Douglas Balish and Matt Waldron have been appointed Patrons of the Academy and sessions got off to a flying start this week.

The weekly Chefs’ Forum Academy masterclasses involve various local chefs and front of house experts coming into the college to give a compelling and inspirational course of study throughout the academic year, culminating in work experience opportunities at the participating properties and businesses once restrictions are lifted.

The teaching team at the college are delighted to welcome the guest chefs into the college to enrich students’ learning.

Wendy Weber, Head of Health, Childcare and Commercial Enterprise said

“We are proud of our hospitality provision at Pembrokeshire College, which has gone from strength to strength over many years.   Observing school-leavers join us at 16 years of age and leave us at 18 or 19 as proficient chefs is immensely satisfying.  The introduction of the Chef’s Forum Academy this year enhances the learner experience even more and allows both staff and learners the chance to become more industry-ready than ever before and gain those extra skills that employers want.  We look forward to a year of new techniques and practices – and amazing dishes being served in our restaurant.”

The Chefs’ Forum Academy benefits the college, the students and local employers.  It is these relationships that will flourish to galvanise and support the future of the hospitality industry – A truly positive step in the right direction in such uncertain times.

Douglas Balish, Executive chef of The Grove, Narberth said

“It’s truly an honour to be asked to become a Patron of The Chefs’ Forum Academy at Pembrokeshire college. The lecturers at the college are creating something very special, so it’s great to be able to add my experiences to the curriculum. It’s rewarding to see the next generation in West Wales develop into competent and driven chefs. I already have one former student in my brigade who is progressing through the ranks and has become part of the core team, I hope to soon be adding another from this wholly worthwhile project.”

Matt Waldron, Head Chef of The Stackpole Inn echoed Douglas’, saying he was equally proud to have been asked to head-up The Chefs’ Forum Academy at Pembrokeshire College, he said

“I am very proud and delighted to have been asked to be Patron of the Chefs Forum Academy, at Pembrokeshire College.  I have very much enjoyed teaching previously at Coleg Gwent (my old college) as part of the same initiative.  I was humbled to welcome my old lecturers to The Stackpole for a day of CPD.  The college have already demonstrated a successful delivery of the hospitality programme to its students with so many entering and winning catering competitions and so many going off to work and continue to work in the industry.

He continued,

“The team at The Stackpole Inn and I are looking forward to helping educate and enhancing the students learning.  Teaching them new techniques and cooking methods, giving them the possibility to experience cooking in our kitchen at the Inn to give them a real insight to the industry and creating the next generation of chefs here in Pembrokeshire”.

All chefs taking part wholeheartedly support The Chefs’ Forum Academy and are looking forward to working with students at Pembrokeshire College as part of The Chefs’ Forum Academy scheme of learning. Other chefs already signed-up to the scheme include Deri Reed (The Warren), Matt Flowers (Salt Cellar) and Alister Forrester (Cofio Lounge).  The college would like to invite all Head and Executive Chef who would like to know more about the project to get in touch.

The chefs come to the college each week and take a three-hour master class to enrich the learning of the students in line with the subjects they are required to learn to achieve their qualification.  Pembrokeshire College is the only college West Wales to be working with The Chefs’ Forum Academy and this makes it a really attractive choice for any young person wanting to learn from the very best chefs in the industry.

At the same time as learning new skills, cooking techniques and recipes, the students are forging relationships with the visiting chefs which will help them in their efforts to find work on leaving college as the chefs will already be familiar to them.  Many learners get offered part time work whilst still in college – This served to make them more work-ready and enables them to get work experience whilst studying – A win-win situation for all involved.

The Chefs’ Forum Academy also operates in West London College, The Manchester College, Bath College and Coleg Gwent with further colleges set to adopt this fantastic programme of curriculum enrichment later this year.  The Chefs’ Forum serves to bridge the gap between education and industry, inspiring young chefs and front-of-house professionals.

Any local hospitality employers (within one hour radius of Pembrokeshire College) interested in supporting the college and offering their expertise in teaching as part of The Chefs’ Forum Academy should email