By Angela Green
BaxterStorey has celebrated the highest number of graduates from its Chef Academy this year, with 66 chefs completing their courses.
Set up 16 years ago to develop the skills of BaxterStorey’s chef teams, the Chef Academy has trained more than 500 chefs since its inception.
Following the company’s significant investment in new e-learning, it has been able to offer training to reach further parts of the business.
Utilising a mix of both online, and in-person training sessions on a broad range of subjects, it is expected that a further 160 chefs will graduate from their courses next year.
This year, the commis chef (Level 2) and chef de partie (Level 3) graduates completed programmes covering modules on meat, fish, pastry, bread, and plant-based cooking.
The Level 4 chefs completed a 12-month programme designed to provide a higher level of culinary skills and communication development, including modules on coaching and modern kitchen leadership, food science and practical workshops.
The Level 5 chefs completed a two-year programme, the first focussing on senior leadership within the business, commercial awareness, project management, strategic thinking and presenting. The second year of the programme culminated in a business impact project, as well as qualifications in nutrition and Level 4 food safety.
This last year saw the launch of BaxterStorey’s ‘Obsessed Lab’ at the Woodspeen in Newbury, Berkshire, which acts as a film studio and cookery school, as well as the new home for the Chef Academy.
The chef graduates were commended during a special ceremony held at 30 Euston Square in London which saw 200 guests gather to celebrate the graduation of 66 chefs in total, 59 from BaxterStorey and seven from Holroyd Howe, 13 of which were female chefs.
As well as the chefs, their friends, families, line managers and operations teams, the ceremony was attended by Alastair Storey, chairman and chief executive of parent company Westbury Street Holdings (WSH); BaxterStorey chief executive Ronan Harte; WSH executive director Noel Mahony; and senior team members from within BaxterStorey and Holroyd Howe.
Chef partners including Josh Eggleton and Richard Corrigan also attended, as well as Lisa Goodwin-Allen who presented the event’s keynote speech. Lisa shared her career journey and learnings, from balancing family life to appearing on Great British Menu; encouraging the graduates to create their own career paths and identities.
Eggleton and Corrigan also contributed to the training programmes for the first time and graduates experienced supplier visits to Mossgiel Organic Farm in Ayrshire and Chalk Stream in Hampshire.
Ronan Harte, CEO, BaxterStorey, said: “We’re delighted to celebrate our 66 superstars graduates this year. Our Chef Academy reflects the obsessed culture of our business where we champion individuality and innovation. We see the positive impact this training has on our chefs as they learn, grow and find confidence; nurturing talent and celebrating their successes is how we will continue to grow both the business and the industry.”