An approved diploma can be the best possible start for a career as a chef or for most jobs that call for sound cooking skills. While some simply receive their training in the workplace, when given a thorough exposure to the basic theory and practice, those for whom the culinary art is a passion will soon learn to add that personal stamp to their creations that serves to distinguish them from those who are merely very good at what they do.
The ultimate value of such foundational studies, however, will invariably be determined by the quality of the establishment providing them. This, in turn will be a product of its facilities and the expertise and experience of its training staff. In each of these crucial areas, Prue Leith Chefs Academy emerges as one that offers the aspiring chef the chance to attain career excellence and one that is able to provide a first class foundation to anyone who may have his or her sights set on a cooking job.
There are a number of features that identify this establishment as a centre of excellence, setting it apart from other culinary training facilities. Perhaps the most obvious of these lies in its name. South African-born Prue Leith developed her taste for good food in Paris, a factor that destined her for a career in the kitchen rather than an office. After completing her culinary studies in London she went on to become a Michelin-starred restaurateur, a celebrity TV chef and broadcaster, an author of both cookery books and novels and the owner of the Leith’s Group of Companies that included a School of Food and Wine and an Events Company.
Her unprecedented agreement to attach her name to a school that would subsequently launch many chefs on their career and secure cooking jobs for even more provides an unshakeable testament, both to its exceptional facilities and to its teaching expertise. Although she is still busy overseas, Prue continues to play a role in all major decisions as well as undertake regular inspection visits to ensure that the academy continues to conform to international standards in every respect, from its curriculum, to its well-appointed kitchen and training facilities and its teaching staff.
In addition to Prue’s impressive CV, the four founding members of the academy also provide the academy with a great deal of expertise of their own, having formerly been either owner/operators or high ranking employees of some of the most prestigious boutique hotels in the country’s northern regions. In each case these were businesses passionate in their quest for quality food. What better foundation could one offer an aspiring chef with his or her eye on a new career or those in need of the basics to prepare themselves for some alternative cooking job?
The academy provides a wealth of choices for its learners who may, for example, choose from one of the short courses on offer such as pasta and sauces, bread making or cake decorating. These may serve just to improve their skills on the home scene or to develop as a hobby or a small, informal business venture. Those who aspire to greater things are free to opt for something more challenging such as the 18 month, full-time “Grande Diploma in Culinary Arts & Wine” – a course that covers training in classic French cuisine, covering the hot, cold and pastry kitchens. Combining both internal and the City & Guilds of London examinations, these Prue Leith Chefs Academy graduates are prepared with an NFQ and an internationally recognised qualification that opens the door to chefs for a career either at home or overseas.
For those eager to begin their cooking career, the 12-month Diploma in Culinary Arts also offers dual examinations and it is worth noting that many local jobs now stipulate Prue Leith Chefs Academy graduates only.