Students from the Bradford area were inspired after two hours of tasting, demonstrations, and a competition at Bradford College.
Invited to a special taster day, 120 students from seven local schools enjoyed a “sensational” hospitality showcase in Bradford College’s world-renowned Hospitality and Catering Department. The event was organised by The Chefs’ Forum as part of its Academy partnership with the College that was launched two months ago.
“It was great to have so many local schools here today,” said Bradford College Head of Hospitality and Catering Gary Bradwell after the event. “To be able to showcase our training kitchens, hospitality and catering offer was marvellous. We pride ourselves in forging great relationships with local employers and to be able to celebrate butchery, bakery and patisserie today was really inspiring for all the visiting pupils.”
Since the bounce-back of the hospitality sector post-pandemic, many bars and restaurants are still struggling to fill roles across the UK. Data from the Office for National Statistics in 2021 showed a 10% vacancy rate in the hospitality sector, equivalent to 210,000 roles, intensified by Brexit. Estimates suggest that the UK will need another 11,000 chefs by the end of 2022, making aspirational training in the sector more vital than ever.
The students attending the taster day enjoyed a pasta making masterclass with Exose Grant – a Masterchef the Professionals finalist – before being introduced to butchery by Jack Holden from Robert Shaws Farm Shop. There was then a patisserie demo by Wasim and Sabil from Starbake Patisseries which featured a layered cream cake before the students got stuck into a cupcake decorating competition.
“Last week we had Stephanie Moon visiting the college,” said Chefs’ Forum Director Catherine Farinha. “This week it’s a taster day. By unleashing the power of professionals who want to inspire a new generation this is a great time to become an Academy partner and it’s great to have Bradford on board.”
Andy Bray, Level 3 Professional Cookery Programme Leader at Bradford College, added:
“Our partnership with the Chefs’ Forum Academy is already giving our students industry experience and a taste of real-life expectations, from time keeping to the latest trends in recipes and dishes. External chefs can demonstrate techniques and use materials we might not be able to deliver in-house, so this is adding an extra depth to our training offer at Bradford College. In return, professionals from leading restaurants are getting access to the next generation of catering and hospitality talent.”
Andy, a former catering student at the College himself, progressed as a chef at Hollins Hall Hotel and then London Marriott Hotel Regents Park, before becoming a training assessor and lecturer. Andy continued: “It’s a great time to be a student at Bradford College!”