The School of Food initiative is designed to address the city and surrounding area’s recruitment challenge and skills shortage.
The year-long course will be taught by chefs, offering apprenticeships with well-regarded establishments in the South West and will offer visits to food producers and the opportunity to cook at high profile events and locations.
Applications for the apprenticeship are being taken now following a launch event earlier this week at Bristol’s Ashton Gate Stadium.
“The chef shortage is by no means a new thing, it’s been bubbling away for years,” says Eggleton, the high-profile chef restaurateur behind the Michelin-starred Pony & Trap, vegetable-centric restaurant Root and the Salt & Malt fish and chip brand. “For so long people have been talking about why it’s happening, but hardly anyone has looked at how we can fix this.
“The School of Food is kind of the antithesis to that; it’s all about bringing through the future of the industry. This apprenticeship will give participants more time in professional kitchens, designed to inspire chefs and show them just what they can achieve and really set them up for success in what is an incredibly rewarding and creative industry.”
Bristol’s restaurant scene is booming, but Eggleton and Kirikmaa, head chef at care home group St Monica Trust, believe success will be short-lived if restaurateurs cannot bring new talent into their kitchens.
The School of Food is open to young people looking for an entry point into the industry, as well as those already working within restaurants, hotels and food businesses.
Students will complete a 12-month course, undertaking the Commis Chef Standard Intermediate Apprenticeship at Level 2.
The School of Food curriculum will cover everything from food preparation and nutrition through to chef and knife skills, food knowledge, how to take stock and the financial aspects of working in a kitchen.
Students will be mentored by a professional chef who will provide regular assessments and regular workplace visits to monitor progress. Students will have the chance to use state of the art facilities at The Grove Restaurant at Weston College, The Leaf at Ham Green run by St Katherine’s School and Ashton Gate Stadium.
Eggleton says The School of Food has already received the backing of his Bristol peers including Casamia’s Peter Sanchez-Iglesias and Box-E’s Elliot Lidstone.
Caption (l-r) Paul Mingo-West, St Katharine’s School, Adrian Kirikmaa, St Monica’s Trust, Josh Eggleton, The Pony & Trap, and Brian Howe, Weston College.