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Butlin’s Chef Academy Tackles Hospitality Skills Shortage

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Butlin’s has launched a brand-new Chef Academy designed to train, coach and validate current team and new starters to the standard required to operate in all catering venues at its three resorts.

The Butlin’s Chef Academy provides aspiring chefs the perfect platform to learn, grow and develop industry skills in a year-long programme that will serve as a platform for them to enter the catering industry and gain a professional qualification. The Chef Academy is embedded in all restaurant venues across all three resorts and will be part of the taskforce for any conference or event on site.

The course begins with a two-week training session in a purpose-built test kitchen close to the Minehead resort. Chefs will be introduced to practical kitchen skills in a professional kitchen environment.

This is followed by on-resort coaching where the chefs will work in up to five different restaurants, developing skills to be flexible in a range of kitchens. A mentor will be assigned to each chef who will regularly check their progress and support however possible.

Five week-long masterclasses with industry experts

A unique highlight of the Chef Academy will be five week-long skills and knowledge masterclasses where Butlin’s has partnered with industry experts such as Fresh Direct, Billingsgate Fish Market and Birtwistles. This higher-skills training will begin with a two-day experience focused on a particular food theme. Each chef will develop culinary skills through planning, ordering and executing a menu based upon their theme. Themes include Asian cookery, gala dinners, Patisserie, street food and vegan cooking.

These masterclasses form a part of the chef’s preparation so they can adapt to create a menu for any client request, including conferences and events. The chefs are specifically trained to understand how to design a menu to meet client standards, considering choice of ingredients and cooking style depending on how the meal will be served and to what audience.

Masterclass on gala dinners

During the week of 18th July, the aspiring chefs will partner with Birtwistles for a week-long masterclass focusing on gala dinners. They’ll learn new cooking techniques such as using sous vide for intense flavour. They will also learn how to design a plate and to consider a variety of aspects such as nutrition, dietary requirements and what complements the protein on the plate for events with large groups.

The chefs are also given the opportunity to develop their event catering skills, working directly with events taking place at Butlin’s, such as the recent Wickes conference at Bognor Regis and Spring Harvest at Minehead and Skegness.

Over time and throughout the course the chefs from the academy will have more input and control as their knowledge and skills develop over the year. The final masterclass rounds off everything the chefs have learnt over the year with a trip to a European culinary hub. They will also have the opportunity to design dishes that will hopefully become part of the Butlin’s offering on resort.

The Butlin’s Chef Academy offers clear career growth opportunities with a progress path within the company. Due to the location of each resort, support is available when needing to relocate with on resort accommodation provided to the chefs. On completion each chef is guaranteed a rate of pay that is above industry average in relation to their position in kitchen. Through this initiative, Butlin’s aims to build foundations for highly skilled catering careers and set the industry standard.

A word from Butlin’s Development Chef

Mark Murphy, Butlin’s Development Chef said: “We’re delighted to have launched the Butlin’s Chef Academy. It’s been years in the making and we’ve already welcomed two cohorts of chefs who have worked on several different conferences and events ranging from small events to large corporate gala dinners.

“It’s a unique and fun programme where aspiring chefs get to work with industry experts. We wanted to launch an academy that stands out from the crowd and the masterclass weeks certainly do that. They will enable our chefs to really develop a higher level and more diverse skills based upon their experience in the industry.”

For more information on Butlin’s Conferences & Events visit: www.butlins.com/conferences-events