The Chef’s Academy, which kicks off in July 2014 and will run for two years, will offer a range of opportunities across the group’s six restaurants, with Michael Wignall (The Latymer at Pennyhill Park), Matt Gillan (The Pass at South Lodge) and Richard Davies (The Bybrook at The Manor House) all sharing their experience.
Headed up by former executive chef of Lainston House Hotel, Andy Mackenzie, the Academy will be aimed at commis chefs who have at least one year of experience. Training will be given to allow them to progress to chef de partie level, with masterclasses, workshops and visits to local producers all on offer.
“Having been a chef with Exclusive Hotels and Venues for over 27 years, I am really excited and very proud to be heading up the Exclusive Chef’s Academy,” said MacKenzie. “During my time with Exclusive I have performed hundreds of cooking demonstrations at schools, colleges, food festivals and even radio stations and was also instrumental in launching ‘Create & Cook’, a cookery competition aimed at showcasing the culinary skills of young people across Hampshire, Sussex and the Isle of Wight.
“I am now looking forward to transferring those skills to these talented chefs, supported by the executive chefs across the group.”
MasterChef: The Professionals winner
Restaurants within the Exclusive Hotels collection include The Camellia restaurant at South Lodge, an Exclusive Hotel located in Horsham. That restaurant's head chef, Steven Edwards, was last night crowned winner of MasterChef: The professionals 2013.
Having gained experience working at a range of award-winning hotel restaurants including at Stoke Park, Fredericks Hotel and Spa and Hartham Park, Edwards joined South Lodge in 2008 to assist in the opening of, the now-Michelin-starred Pass restaurant under the guidance of Gillan. Edwards quickly worked his way up to become junior sous chef in 2010 and in 2012 he was appointed head chef of The Camellia, which currently holds two AA Rosettes.
Fresh from winning the competition, the 27-year-old chef told BigHospitality he wants to use the experience as a springboard for his career and perhaps eventually open a restaurant of his own.
David Connell, general manager of South Lodge, said: “We are immensely proud of Steven and he deserves every success. Food is a critical part of any hotel experience and to have someone with his talent heading up one of our restaurants is very satisfying.”
The six-strong portfolio of Exclusive Hotels and Venues includes: -
- Lainston House, Winchester, Hampshire
- Pennyhill Park, Bagshot, Surrey
- The Manor House, Castle Combe, Wiltshire
- South Lodge,– Horsham, West Sussex
- Royal Berkshire, Ascot, Berkshire
- Fanhams Hall, Ware, Hertfordshire