A group of 5 youngsters from Cumbria and Lancashire have signed up to a local training initiative which will allow them to develop the skills they need to become commis chefs.

Now in its third year, the English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues ‘Culinary Academy’, offers the trainees a two year apprenticeship.

A total of 7 are already progressing through the scheme to become commis chefs.

This year’s intake includes Ellis McNally, 16, from Grasmere, Antonia Beswick and Abbie Spencer, both 16 and from Morecambe, Rob Southern, 24, from Lancaster, and Bryan Rojas Pinedo, 21, from Spain.

Abbie and Antonia have both joined the apprenticeship scheme from Morecambe High School, with Ellis joining from the Lakes School.  Bryan already has work experience as a kitchen porter at Low Wood Bay, whilst Rob’s career to date has included bar and kitchen work at Lancaster House.

Delivered in partnership with multi-award winning local chef Steven Doherty and Kendal College, the Culinary Academy training allows the students to hone chef skills whilst earning a wage with the hotel group.

This autumn’s latest cohort of students will train and work at four of the group’s renowned venues across the Lake District and North Lancashire, Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa in Windermere, Waterhead in Ambleside, Lancaster House and The Midland in Morecambe.

New recruit Ellis says:  “I’ve always wanted to get into the restaurant industry and have a real passion for food, but I didn’t know how to become a chef. I then heard about the academy and thought it would be a great idea to apply.  I’m excited about securing a place on the course and learning what the role is all about.”

One of the first students on the course in 2017 Ashley Brannigan says:  “The apprenticeship and work based training opportunities have been the perfect grounding for me.  It’s given me a huge amount of confidence and it’s inspiring to work with head chefs at different venues to pick up the skills and tips we need to improve.  My aim now is to work my way up and forge a career.”

Steven Doherty adds: “This is already the third year of the English Lakes Culinary Academy initiative and it’s clearly becoming a popular route for trainee chefs to get on the career ladder in the industry.

“It’s a fully accredited course to deliver the commis chef apprenticeship Government approved standards.  The students get a range of practical opportunities to work with the hotel group’s head chefs at some excellent venues.  Three of last year’s apprentices got the chance to set a special evening menu and cook for the diners at Blue Smoke on the Bay the newest restaurant at Low Wood Bay.”

For further information about English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues and its ‘Culinary Academy’, email Val Still at group.personnel.support@englishlakes.co.uk or visit https://englishlakes.co.uk/jobs and complete the form at the bottom of the page.