Weston College Welcomes 400 GCSE Students for a Ground-breaking Hospitality Industry Taster Day for Local Schools with The Chefs’ Forum Academy

The Chefs’ Forum Academy launched at Weston College in September 2015 to enhance employer-engagement for catering and hospitality students at the college.  Wednesday (27) June saw a fantastic showcase of culinary expertise and butchery take place at the college’s world class event venue, The Winter Gardens to showcase the industry and drive registrations for the coming academic year.

Taster Day AudienceChefs’ Forum Founder Catherine Farinha stated:

“It was a real honour to be asked to stage this event by the college.  The Chefs’ Forum Academy is going from strength to strength and feedback from teaching staff and students is fantastic.”

“If a handful of students who attended the event are inspired to study catering and hospitality as a result of the fantastic industry experts on show today, then our work is done.  We are collectively combatting the chef shortage and showcasing how fantastic a career in the industry can be!”

The decision was taken to stage an industry taster day for 14-16’s from local feeder schools to raise the profile of careers within the hospitality industry and showcase the fantastic provision for full, part time and adult learners wishing to study catWeston College students prepparing canapesering, front of house and event management at the college.

September 2018 will see a third successful year of The Chefs’ Forum Academy at Weston College. Set up in 2015 with the College, the initiative aims to enrich students’ learning at the college. The Taster Day event aimed to showcase the wide range of chefs and industry experts that prospective students can expect to see whilst studying hospitality and catering at the college.  The teaching staff communicated the wide range of careers within the industry and, with hard work and dedicatioCanapesn, how rewarding and exciting a career in the sector can be.

Around 400 Year 9, 10 and 11 pupils from six local schools attended who were interested in the industry, including Worle School, Hans Price Academy, Nailsea School, Backwell School, Voyage Learning Campus and Robert Blake Science College. Guests also included a number of Weston College staff members, including college governors and senior leaders.

The lucky prospective students were treated to non-alcoholic ‘mocktails’ and canapés created and served by Weston College level 2 hospitality students.  The refreshing options on were ‘Orange Blossom’ or ‘Life is Peachy’, which were enjoyed by all on a very hot day! The delicious canapés onSandra Bull welcome speach offer were prepared by Weston College catering students led by Executive chef of the Winter Gardens, Dave Newman and Brian Howe, Training and Development Manager at Weston College.

Guests were first introduced to the college with an impressive welcome speech by Dr Paul by video link on the impressive LED wall. Area Manager for Hair, Beauty, Hospitality and Catering, Sandra Bull then took to the stage to welcome the four hundred young guests from local schools, promoting Weston College as a fantastic next step to their learning journey with fantastic curriculum enrichment on offer like The Chefs’ Forum Academy.

Catering and hospitalitCatherine Farinha LEFT Elly Wentworth RIGHTy students at the college will be able to learn in industry standard kitchens andGavin Roberts butchery demo a purpose-built Grove Restaurant which is open to the public.

The culinary demos began with a fish demonstration from Professional Master Chef Finalist Elly Wentworth (Lucknam Park).  Gavin Roberts of Kernow Sausage company then took to the stage to perform a pork butchery demonstration and sausage-making challenge.

Gavin was joined on stage by young volunteers Ben Jones and Tom Jago (Hans Price Academy) and Tyler-Mae Saunders (Backwell School).  The students did a great job in creating the sausage recipe, filling natural casings and tying the sausages by hand.

Haute dogsThe guestSausage makings got to try some delicious Kernow sausages made by Gavin in delicious haute dogs and impressive garnishes served to the large audience in smart usherette trays.

UK Curry Chef of the Year, Stephen Gomes (Moksh) and Istvan Ulman (Berwick Lodge) then followed showcasing the importance of maths in catering and looking after portion control and price.

Recent Weston College graduate Lillianna Young told the audience of her great experience as a catering student at Weston College and how useful she found the Chefs’ Forum Academy sessions

“I have really enjoyed learning all of the different recipes and cooking styles demonstrated by the visiting chefs.  It was through meeting Istvan Ulman via The Chefs’ Forum Academy that I have now secured my apprenticeship with him at Berwick Lodge in Bristol.  Having just qualified, I am delighted that I can now call myself a chef – it’s a great career L-R Catherine Farinha, Stephen Gomes, Lilliana Young and Istvan Ulmannchoice for any young person that offers a world of opportunity!”

Closing the show were Dave Newman (Lasseters) and Steve Fowell (The School Chef).

Year 9, 10 and 11 students from our invited schools were then given the opportunity to speak to representatives from The Chefs’ Forum and Weston College catering and hospitality lecturers about careers in the industry.

Sandra Bull said:

“The day was thoroughly enjoyed by all, and it was fantastic to see so many young faces inspired to consider careers in catering and hospitality, with demonstrations by talented local chefs and industry experts.”

“Our collaboration with The Chefs’ Forum Academy continues strongly, with professional chefs from Bristol, Somerset, The Cotswolds, Bath and beyond coming to our campus every month to deliver cookery mastercDave Newmanlasses in their unique cooking styles. We look forward to welcoming them for a third successful year from September.”

Marie Beaver, Strategic Lead of School Partnership and Student Progression said

 “The visiting students from local schools really enjoyed their time at our event today and have given very overwhelmingly positive feedback on the experience.”

“The Chefs’ Forum Academy is a valuable platform that offers employer engagement and a fantastic opportunity for students at the college to build relationships with local chefs and employers and secure work experience placements with them.”

For more information on Hospitality and Catering at Weston College visit: https://www.weston.ac.uk

Photography credit: www.fayditphotography.com