Chef Academy Opens
Higher education catering has never been a more exciting sector to work in. To support this, The University Caterers organisation (TUCO) has launched its first sector specific training-led academy.
“As a sector, we have got so much to offer and want to attract high quality,” said Helen Anzani, head of the TUCO Academy Project Group. “What we have recognised within our university sector is that the biggest amount of training is not bespoke to our particular sector. There are elements of various training courses and qualifications available but what we aim to do with the academy is to map all these out so people can end up with a sweep of qualifications that focus particularly on our university organisations. We really are quite cutting edge – it’s just not everyone may be aware of it.”
TUCO academy offers a fully-accredited training programme designed specifically to address the training and professional development needs of caterers in higher education. The academy will address all levels of training, from first job to senior management, with courses on everything from basic food hygiene to strategic management.
Course delivery will be a mixture of online independent study and at universities and colleges. There is also the opportunity for career progression among the numerous universities.
A report from the charity People 1st identified an alarming shortage of people in the industry. It said that 215,000 people need to be recruited into skilled roles in the food and beverage industry by 2020 – and that 20% of organisations could not recruit staff with the skills they needed – often at a more senior role.
“Our chefs are under pressure to produce good quality, fresh food for a mass, ever-changing market,” said Helen. “Other college or training courses currently out there can’t prepare them for the volume and diversity of catering that universities deal with. The broad spectrum customer base is not something you’d get working in a restaurant or food chain. Students have very high expectations. They are becoming more street savvy and demanding; wanting healthier food and more cultural choices. The sector is changing all the time to meet these requirements. In truth, it’s a very exciting sector for a chef to work in.“
Members will be able to pick elements of a course that suits their environment. For example someone may want to learn financial skills. The best thing about the academy though is that it is not a short term learning curve but an ever-evolving one that chefs and cooks can dip in and out of as their career progresses.
“The industry is in danger of stagnating – and the problems stand to become even bigger,” said Julie Barker, chair of TUCO. “The TUCO Academy is an answer to this that will offer genuine value and meet the current and future needs of the catering industry.”
School Food Guide
Premier Foods Education Solutions Guide is available to download.
The guide contains helpful hints and tips to help caterers create everyday tasty dishes for the school menu, along with 12 recipes using Premier Foods’ trusted brands, McDougalls, Homepride, Bisto, Ambrosia, Bird’s and Angel Delight. Premier Foods understands the challenges school caterers face and the important role they have to play in putting children on the right path to a healthy lifestyle. Their culinary advisors have created a variety of innovative recipes that school caterers can use and easily adapt.