West London College Implements Virtual Chefs’ Forum Academy Sessions for the New Academic Year!

Now in its second year, The Chefs’ Forum Academy at West London College is going from strength to strength.  Current restrictions on chefs coming into the college mean that The Chefs’ Forum film crew are visiting chefs in their kitchens to film their recipes, so students still get the curriculum sessions that make West London College the number one choice in the Capital for budding young chefs and hospitality professionals.

Due to Covid-19 limitations, the chefs are unable to come into the college and teach the students in person as they normally would as part of The Chefs’ Forum Academy project.  Instead, the chefs have created a fascinating film of their recipe to be shown to the students in a Zoom call with a recipe card to accompany.

The chefs join the session via a live video link to host a question and answers session with the students where they will be able to quiz the chef on their career, the recipe that has been shown to them and general insight into the industry.  The chefs also give live feedback on the students’ individual versions of the dishes they have created in the film.

This new way of learning sets out to maintain employer engagement and curriculum enrichment while restrictions remain in place.  Once these are lifted, the students can look forward to different chefs and industry experts coming into the college on a weekly basis to teach them in their usual learning environment.

The weekly Chefs’ Forum Academy masterclasses involve various local chefs and front of house professionals from across London, 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 students are permitted to participate in such activities again.

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

West London CollegeDenise Charles, Head of Curriculum – Service Industries at West London College said

“I coordinate The Chefs’ Forum Academy sessions at the college and it’s great that we’ve been able to adapt the way we deliver masterclasses to adhere to current Covid-19 restrictions. We have had to find new ways to deliver our curriculum enrichment sessions to ensure our students are benefitting from the best learning experience possible, despite the limitations of social distancing which are beyond our control.  We have been so impressed with the way in which our teaching chefs have all rallied together to make this work for our students and The Chefs’ Forum Academy.  It just goes to show that they really prioritise inspiring the next generation and the future of our industry.”

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 stars of our hospitality industry – A truly positive step in the right direction in such uncertain times.

Dipna Anand, Chef Proprietor at Brilliant Restaurant in Southall was first to deliver a masterclass earlier this week.  Dipna is no stranger to online masterclasses and runs a very popular YouTube channel.

Dipna has been a regular guest lecturer at the college since the launch of The Chefs’ Forum Academy at West London College in 2018.  Dipna really enjoys working with young people to showcase Indian cuisine and her love of the industry.

Brilliant Restaurant was voted Britain’s Best Family Run Restaurant in ITV’s first Food & Drinks Awards, so it is great for the students to meet such an esteemed chef.  Dipna is a great role model for girls looking to join the industry that has been traditionally more male dominated.  Dipna is about to appear on BB2’S Mary Berry’s Simple Comforts at 8pm on 30th September in the run-up to celebrating Diwali and she will also be making a string of other TV appearances in the coming weeks!

Dipna said

“These Academy sessions give me the opportunity to engage with the next generation and identify new talent for my kitchen.  I love to see the students enjoying cooking my recipes and its great to be able to give back to the industry in this way.  I look forward to welcoming Denise and her students over to my restaurant for a show-round once restrictions are lifted.”

Next on the agenda is a masterclass from Darren Taylor, Executive Chef at a Premier League Football club in London.  Not only will this showcase a different take on a career as a chef in the industry within a leading football club, but the variety of roles and settings in which to work once students qualify.

All chefs taking part wholeheartedly support The Chefs’ Forum Academy and are looking forward to working with students at West London College as part of The Chefs’ Forum Academy scheme of learning. Other chefs already signed-up to the scheme, creating compelling and inspirational masterclass films and recipe cards to accompany include Tom Booton (The Dorchester), Dominic Teague (One Aldwych), Chanaka Fernado (Buddha Bar), Gurpreet Dham (The Royal Lancaster), Charlie Taylor (The Westbury), Peter Fiori (Coutts), Daniel Pearse (The Savoy) and Michael Dutnall (RAF Club) – This list is set to grow considerably as more chefs are allocated teaching dates and confirm their availability.

In normal times, the chefs would 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. West London College is the only college in London to be working with The Chefs’ Forum Academy and this makes it an 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 The Manchester College, Bath College, Pembrokeshire 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.

The Chefs’ Forum would like to invite Executive, Head and Pastry Chefs who would like to know more about the project to get in touch.  Any London hospitality employers interested in supporting the college and offering their expertise in teaching as part of The Chefs’ Forum Academy should email: rebecca@redcherry.uk.com