Community led food initiative announces 16 spaces on innovative professional culinary course

A community led initiative that serves as an educational food hub is to become the first such organisation to launch an internationally recognised certified professional cookery course. An innovative concept, ‘School of Food’ and its first fully certified Professional Cookery programme comes as a response to the shortage of professionally qualified chefs in Ireland. The programme has received funding from Fáilte Ireland and LEADER.

One of only five chef training colleges in Ireland, the course will be delivered in a unique format combining work based learning with a three day a week college based attendance. The School of Food are seeking to encourage those interested in gaining professional cookery qualifications to take part in the 34 week QQI Level 5 certificate course. Commencing on Monday, October 5th, the 34 week programme will be open to all school leavers and culinary staff wishing to up-skill.

“We are delighted to offer this opportunity for those interested in pursuing a career as a professional chef. The School of Food is itself a unique concept in that it serves as a hub for food education. We have some of the best tutors available and state of the art facilities making this an exciting project. This course is our first to launch and it will serve as a pipeline for hotel and restaurant kitchens dedicated to food excellence.” explains Mags Morrissey, Coordinator with the School of Food.

With recent figures from the Restaurant Association of Ireland revealing an urgent need for 5,000 new professional chefs each year by 2020, the ‘School of Food’ programme will serve to extend Ireland’s growing reputation as a top culinary destination. In 2014, over 24,000 chefs were employed in Ireland and the majority of jobs in the hospitality sector directly relate to the food services sector. Each year, only 1,800 chefs qualify from certified culinary training programmes meaning there is an immediate deficit of the 5,000 chefs trainees required annually.

“We want to be able to market Ireland as a centre of food excellence, a true culinary experience with world-class chefs leading the way. The School of Food in Thomastown is a welcome addition to culinary education in Ireland. Given the chef shortage there is huge potential for jobs in professional cookery and the School of Food Professional Cookery programme will give students an excellent introduction to culinary education with on the job training.” says Adrian Cummins, Restaurant Association of Ireland.

John Mulcahy, Head of Hospitality with Fáilte Ireland explains “Visitors to Ireland regard a great food experience as one of the key drivers of satisfaction when they are here so it is important that we get it right. A great food experience needs expert handling of local food in a hospitable setting, both of which provide an unforgettable holiday memory to share with friends and family.  Well trained chefs at all levels are crucial if we are to achieve this, which is why Fáilte Ireland is collaborating with the School of Food on this professional cookery programme. We are delighted to be supporting this programme which will provide graduates with significant opportunities in a very active and growing tourism industry.”

Having opened in January 2015, the School of Food is a custom developed food education and incubation centre aiming to attract professional and amateur cookery students. Located in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny, the initiative operates with assistance from Kilkenny LEADER to promote the county as a food destination supporting the production and promotion of local, quality food ingredients.

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About The School of Food: Based in a custom developed food education and incubation centre in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny, The School of Food initiative operates with assistance from Kilkenny LEADER to promote the county as a food destination that supports the production and promotion of local, quality food ingredients and to develop an educational food hub within the county which aims to attract professional and amateur cookery students.

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