Exclusive Hotels Chefs' Academy: Aiming to train and retain staff

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BigHospitality takes a visit to Exclusive Hotels and Venues' new Chefs' Academy to find out how the company is aiming to train and retain its kitchen staff through an extensive two-year training programme

As Andy Mackenzie, former Lainston House executive chef and now head of the academy, explains, the initiative is designed to turn commis chefs into chef de parties by equipping them with all the skills they need to succeed. 

The first year takes chefs through 'each segment of the kitchen' to ensure they know the basics. They are also given the chance to take part in masterclasses with experienced chefs and to meet suppliers.

"The second stage is about them furthering their development," said Mackenzie. "Those skills are tested. We switch them around from different restaurants and will run some pop-up restaurants. We also teach them managerial skills as when you come to become a chef de partie you need to be able to manage other people too." 

Matt Gillan, head chef at The Pass restaurant at South Lodge Hotel in West Sussex, said the £1m facility was a key way to 'stabilise retention'. 

"I hope the academy will bolster Exclusive Hotels and our own junior chefs in order to bring them up and through as well as stabilising our retention," he said. 

"Colleges are great, but there a still a few gaps which we want to plug with the academy and speed the process up and fast-track it."

Find out more great tips on how to recruit and retain staff here.

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