Chartwells launches Junior Chef Academy


We’re dedicated to encouraging the development of social skills by bringing people together through food, as well as providing outstanding educational experiences. This focus has seen us launch a Junior Chef Academy that will deliver chef courses across ten schools for students aged 14-16, giving them a hands-on experience of the skills needed to become a chef and promoting the opportunities available within a career in hospitality.

The courses, which are delivered by our culinary team, in partnership with Compass UK & Ireland’s Apprenticeship and Early Careers Team, officially launched with a class at Our Lady and St Chad Catholic Academy, in Wolverhampton with ten students attending an after-school class.

We’re keen to inspire the younger generation to make healthier, more sustainable choices while advocating the opportunities available to young people who are looking for a career in the hospitality industry.

By supporting the National Food Strategy with practical sessions and information around food, we aim to broaden the skills and knowledge of young culinary talent, equipping them with tools they can take through their education and beyond.

The engaging ten-week course, which is free of charge, will run after-school hours during weekdays or over the weekend. The students will learn about key chef skills, such as knifework, before focusing on learning and developing dishes from a weekly theme, including bread and pizza, salads and healthy eating, and a meat masterclass, amongst others.

The course, which promotes sustainability, nutrition, good hygiene, and healthy eating practices, culminates in a celebratory graduation event, where the students will be able to demonstrate their new-found cookery skills at a three-course dinner event, attended by special guests. 

Andrew Walker, Culinary Director, Chartwells said: “This course is not a flash in the pan, it gives students an in-depth understanding and experience of the skills needed to become a chef. We need to be doing more as an industry to promote the fantastic opportunities that exist within hospitality and hopefully this course will create a spark of excitement within students that leads to a fulfilling career in the kitchen.”

Miss L Craig, Principal at Our Lady and St Chad Catholic Academy, said: “The level of engagement from the students was amazing and the atmosphere in the room was electrifying. It was simply outstanding to see the commitment to learning in the room, all under the guidance of industry experts. The skills learned over this course will be fundamentally valuable to our students, across many aspects of their lives, irrespective of whether they pursue a culinary career.”

Jonathan Foot, Head of Apprenticeships and Early Careers, Compass UK & Ireland said: “As a business, we’re dedicated to enriching the learning of young people across the country. This course demonstrates that this focus is not limited to serving nutritious and delicious meals, but also fuelling the inspiration of the next generation of chefs and sharing our insight and expertise during a crucial time in their development. This course will not only add great value to the students who undertake it, but it also forms part of our overarching strategy to champion a career with Chartwells, and the wider Compass UK & Ireland, providing a direct path onto our apprenticeships and career pathway programmes for students who wish to take the next step.”