A NEW training scheme for chefs and restaurateurs has been launched across the south east which aims to help businesses cash-in on the growing demand for locally-sourced food.
The Tourism South East (TSE) project - called ‘Fresh Skills for Chefs’ – aims to help restaurants, cafes, hotels and other hospitality businesses take advantage of the demand for locally sourced food and drink, and is offering flexible training aimed at small businesses.
The training includes master classes, visits to small producers, growers and farms, and menu development.
TSE developed the course content alongside leading chefs and a selection of local colleges in Hampshire, Kent, Surrey, Sussex and the Isle of Wight.
The project is being run in partnership with nearby food companies and producers across the region, and has secured funding from South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) - making the scheme widely accessible.
Some 250 chefs from the region will benefit from the scheme before it finishes in October 2009.
Sue Gill, head of training and skills at TSE, said: “By giving more chefs the knowledge and skills to find, prepare and cook local ingredients from scratch, we can give customers more of what they want.
“We’re also aiming to make a real impact on local economies and improve sustainability.”
The groups involved in creating the course attempted to address the identified skills shortage in chefs by creating a programme aligned to NVQ Level 3.
Sue added: “The project won’t just improve chefs’ skills but it will help forge mutually beneficial and profitable partnerships between hospitality businesses and local food and drink producers and suppliers.
“Chefs and restaurant owners will discover what’s available locally, and how to introduce it creatively and profitable onto their menus.”
Chefs and hospitality businesses wanting to take part can find out more at: www.industry.visitsoutheastengland.com or from Michelle Grant at TSE on 023 8062 5437 or firstname.lastname@example.org