The West Cork Chef Academy

February 14th, 2022 12:07 PM

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A new training programme aims to inspire the next generation of culinary professionals

THE West Cork Chef Academy is an exciting new venture hosted by eight local hotels and the Cork Education & Training Board to address the serious challenges in recruiting staff to the hospitality sector while further promoting West Cork as a food destination.

It is also an amazing opportunity for someone looking for a career as a chef.

How it works

The academy is offering 12 budding culinary professionals (no previous training required) a chance to work with some of the country’s top chefs in eight local hotels – the Celtic Ross, Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa, Dunmore House, Emmet Hotel, Fernhill House, Blue Haven Kinsale, Liss Ard Estate and the Eccles.

Cork ETB, through its ‘Skills to Advance’ initiative, will assist in training this new batch of chefs and in doing so aims to introduce new talent to the participating hotels.

After an induction week in April at the Westside Hospitality FET Centre on the Model Farm Road in Cork, the trainees will continue to attend there one day a week, and will spend the other four days per week working and benefiting from on-the-job mentoring in their assigned hotel, over a further 25-week period.

Incredible opportunity

On successful completion of the course in September, trainees will receive a City and Guilds qualification, and will also automatically qualify for a place on the National Commis Chef Apprenticeship program.

The academy is the brainchild of John Byron, programme manager for the national chef apprenticeship programme for Cork ETB, and Karen Healy, a leading training specialist for the hospitality industry.

John describes the West Cork Chef Academy as the most exciting culinary programme he has seen in Ireland, based on the expertise of the local chefs the trainees will be working with, the qualification they will receive and the amazing boost it will give to their careers.

Ideal location

Karen Healy believes that West Cork is the ideal place for the academy because of its world-class food provenance, not to mention its artisan producers – some of whom trainees will get to meet and see at work as part of their training.

A key tenet of the West Cork Chef Academy is also to promote the region as a food destination and as a location of learning for future generations of culinary professionals.

It is also hoped that the academy will help to address the shortage of staff, and particularly chefs, that the hospitality industry is currently experiencing.

To find out more about the West Cork Chef Academy, or to apply for one of the much-coveted trainee positions, contact [email protected].

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