• Cyril McAree

Top Chefs Gather To Ready the Chefs of Tomorrow

Chefs from around the country gathered this week for special mentoring workshops to support the National Commis Chef Apprenticeship Programme workshop, supported by Fáilte Ireland and other tourism industry bodies. The workshops in Dublin and Limerick were held by Fáilte Ireland to assist existing industry mentors who have apprentice commis chefs in training to employ the necessary practical coaching and mentoring skills.

Paul Hayden, Head of Policy, Education & PMO at Fáilte Ireland said that the workshops are part of an industry led initiative for the Commis Chef Apprenticeship Programme. Mr Hayden emphasised: “Some of our most skilled and best known chefs have gathered to share their experiences via mentoring to what we hope will be the next generation of great Irish chefs. Fáilte Ireland, these experienced mentors and the hospitality industry in general are very much determined to ensure the success of the new apprenticeship scheme, which is aimed at helping to fill vacancies in the culinary and hospitality industry.” Paul Hayden added that the commis chef apprenticeship is the starting point for a career as a professional chef. He said: “It’s a formal structured two year education and training programme incorporating periods of off-the job knowledge and skills development in a college or centre with work-based knowledge and skills development in a hotel or restaurant kitchen. It allows the participant to gain an internationally recognised qualification in cookery with their employer of choice and gives them the opportunity to progress to senior culinary positions within the culinary and hospitality industry.” Welcoming the importance of the Mentoring Programme as a key input to prepare the industry to play its role in the Commis Chef Apprenticeship programme, Tim Fenn, Chief Executive of the IHF stated: “This commis chef apprenticeship programme presents a great opportunity for those who are interested in pursuing a culinary career with an earn and learn model. Mentors have an important leadership role to play. They have the potential to change the way we attract, develop and retain new people into our industry.” Adrian Cummins, Chief Executive of the Restaurant Association of Ireland further emphasised: “The Commis Chef Programme is one step on the road to solving the skills shortage our sector. We are delighted that Failte Ireland in association with our colleagues in the Irish Hotels Federation have delivered on our commitment to establish a Commis Chef Programme for the sector with the support of Solas and the Education & Training Boards Ireland (ETBI). It’s imperative that restaurants and hospitality businesses feed into the apprenticeship scheme locally and utilise the opportunity to upskill existing staff who want to pursue a career as a Chef or take on an apprentice chef in their establishment.” Fáilte Ireland, in conjunction with the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) and the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) contributed to the development of the National Commis Chef Apprenticeship Programme - an industry based programme comprising of ‘on the job’ learning supplemented with training centre based components focused on the development of culinary theory.

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