BaxterStorey, the UK’s largest independent contract catering company – with headquarters in Reading’s Thames Valley Park Drive, has graduated a further 37 chefs from its acclaimed Chef Academy training programme, which has qualified 151 chefs since its launch in 2006. 

The graduation event celebrated the students’ successful completion of five courses ranging from NVQ level 2 through to BA or BSc degree in International Culinary Arts.

The Craft Guild is always keen to promote stories of encouraging and develoing talent. The Chef Academy graduation at BaxterStorey is indeed a key milestone on the culinary calendar because it is certainly provides a massive boost for young chefs.

BaxterStorey introduced the training programme in 2006 after identifying the need for chefs to have a higher level of technical skills and the demand for formal long-term career development. The company already has an intake of 37 students for the 2011/12 programme, which is fantastic to see.

From teaching basic skills, such as recognising different meat cuts to filleting fish and making pastry, the courses offer inspirational learning opportunities such as visiting food markets, fisheries and suppliers, which help to raise understanding and appreciation of food provenance. Trainee chefs also get the chance to put their skills into practice with a week’s tuition with one of BaxterStorey’s Signature Chefs – John Campbell, Nigel Haworth, Mark Hix and Tom Kitchin.

Over 200 people attended the graduation event, which was held at the British Medical Association. Guest speakers included Philip Howard and John Campbell.