This week marked the end to the 10-week programme, fully subsidised by the College’s culinary partner Compass Group UK & Ireland.
Throughout the after-school course, students from Years 10 & 11 from across the area were taught a variety of culinary skills, including bread making, a meat masterclass and vegetable preparation.
Student Ross Collins, from Oaklands Catholic School, said: “I enjoyed the meat masterclass as I’m interested more in savoury dishes and I thought it gave me good experience of what to do with pork. Our tutors, Paula and Leanne have been really good from beginning to end. They’ve helped us along the way and given us tips on what to do. I found that coming on this course has helped to develop my cooking skills, and I’ve noticed my knife skills have dramatically improved.”
Fellow student Tilly Yeats, also from Oaklands Catholic School, said: “My favourite part about the course was being able to learn new skills you wouldn’t usually learn at school. I think it was useful because if you want to become a chef when you’re older because you get a sense of what it’s like in the workplace. I’d definitely recommend this if you want to learn new skills and make new friends.”
The planned Graduation Dinner was hampered this year by Coronavirus restrictions but the team of aspiring culinary professionals didn’t let this dampen their spirits, celebrating with artisan pizza and mocktails instead.
Head of Menu, Recipe & Ingredients Management Team, Compass Group UK & Ireland, Bob Brown said: “It’s been such strange times but let’s look at the positive side and see the journey you’ve made here and reflect on the experience you’ve been able to have through Highbury College and Compass. I’d like to think you’ve had a really good 10 weeks with us and I hope it’s given you an appetite to pursue a career in catering especially within Compass and the diverse culinary opportunities and experiences we can offer.”
Craig Mincher, Director of Employer & Commercial Services, Highbury College said: “Well done to all of the Junior Chef Academy class of 2020. We’re very proud to have supported your first steps in the culinary industry alongside Compass Group.
“The Junior Chef Academy was interrupted by the first lockdown but we were delighted to get up and running again in September. It’s really important the students could gain experience in our professional kitchens, especially if they are considering a career in the culinary arts. The Academy offered an environment which be can’t be replicated at home or online, so it’s been incredibly beneficial for the students to have access to the fantastic facilities Highbury has to offer.
“We can’t wait to see what all the graduates accomplish in the future. Thanks also to our partners Compass Group, plus Harvest Fine Foods, Nisbets, Lockhart Catering Equipment, John Sheppard Butchers and Major Stocks for their fantastic contributions and sponsorship of this year’s programme.”