Winning Chefs Awarded Coveted Place in the Exclusive Chefs’ Academy

Aspiring junior chefs from across the country have been awarded their place in the Exclusive Chefs’ Academy, a two-year life-changing training programme from Exclusive Hotels and Venues after a three month search and selection process.

Following a huge amount of interest from talented chefs attracted to the programme, thirteen chefs,including six ladies and seven gentlemen, have been awarded a place on the programme instead of an original commitment of just nine.

Seven candidates have been recruited from chef and catering colleges and universities across the UK, including George Martin and Jacqui Drynan from Brighton and Hove College, Magdalena Ordak and Megan Curtis from Southampton City College, Lewis Sparey-Wells from Bath College, Stuart Turner from Southdowns College and Joel Darby from University College Birmingham.

The remaining six places won from kitchens within the Exclusive Hotels and Venues portfolio taken up by Luke Hedger and Rachel Burroughs from Pennyhill Park in Bagshot, Surrey, Holly Stewart and Alfonso Pecoraro from Fanhams Hall in Ware, Hertfordshire, Charlotte Warrender from The Royal Berkshire near Ascot and Oliver Geering from South Lodge in Horsham, West Sussex.

The successful candidates undertook a series of processes to secure their place, including completing a rigorous on-line application form, two skills tests and an onsite assessment day before Exclusive Hotels and Venues’ Executive Chef Andy Mackenzie and his panel of judges reached their decision.

Each of the thirteen chefs will have the opportunity to learn from Exclusive’s award-winning Chefs including two Michelin-star Head Chef Michael Wignall at The Latymer at Pennyhill Park in Surrey, one Michelin-star Executive Chef Richard Davies at The Bybrook at The Manor House, Castle Combe, and current Master Chef The Professionals winner, Steven Edwards, who is Head Chef at The Camellia in South Lodge near Horsham.

The Chefs’ Academy is the brainchild of Mackenzie who,together with Exclusive’s group of award winning restaurant chefs, hascarefully designed an intensive programme to both attract and nurture aspiring talent to the industry. Over the course of the two years each chef will experience on-the-job training, off-site supplier visits, supervisory skills workshops, team challenges and master-classes designed to fast track their career to Chef De Partie level in what would typically take five years to achieve.

Andy comments “I have been overwhelmed with the quality of candidates applying to the Academy and their individual determination to secure their place. It’s going to be an exciting and challenging two years ahead for the chefs on the programme and for our own chefs who are ready to inspire and develop what we believe to be the UK’s freshest new talent.”