• Cyril McAree

Top Chefs From Kilkenny And Carlow Gather To Ready The Chefs Of Tomorrow

Chefs from Kilkenny and Carlow gathered this week for a special mentoring workshop to support the National Commis Chef Apprenticeship Programme, which is supported by Fáilte Ireland and other tourism industry bodies such as the Irish Hotels Federation and the Restaurants Association of Ireland. The Fáilte Ireland run workshop was held in the Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel 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 Tourism Careers at Fáilte Ireland said that the workshop is part of an industry led initiative for the Commis Chef Apprenticeship Programme. Mr Hayden emphasised:

“Chefs from Kilkenny and Carlow have gathered to share their experiences via mentoring to what we hope will be the next generation of great Irish chefs. 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.”

Mr Hayden added that the Commis Chef Apprenticeship is the starting point for a career as a professional chef. He said:

“This is 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 in our sector. We are delighted that Fáilte Ireland in association with our colleagues in the Irish Hotels Federation have delivered on a commitment to establish a Commis Chef Apprenticeship 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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