The bigger, better apprenticeship that leads to a bigger, better career – Commis Chef Apprenticeship Standard
In an age where customers are prepared to pay a premium for “home cooked” food, made on the premises, this new qualification supports apprentices as they learn the art of food preparation using fresh ingredients.
Del Anning is full of enthusiasm when he describes the new Commis Chef Standard apprenticeship.
“The government has classified it as level 2, but in fact the content and depth are somewhat beyond that. It’s a really solid grounding and big in scope”, he adds.
Del is very at home talking about chef training. A trainer in the field for 12 years, he worked as a fully qualified chef for many more before that.Now at Swatpro Academy in Exeter Del has his first tranche of apprentices who have reached their end point assessment for this standard.
“When I started, you went to college, learned the basics then got a job in a kitchen where it was sink-or-swim,” Del recalls.
“Now, apprenticeship standards are not just about ticking boxes. The onus is to demonstrate you have learned the skills and understood them.
“A commis chef undertaking this training will be a real asset to any employer. And it gives a solid foundation for anyone to move up the career ladder as a chef: it’s a step on the road to fine dining, you could say,” Del explains.
As with all aspects of training from Swatpro partners, the key is flexibility and a bespoke approach.
“A client might say to me, ‘our apprentice already knows how to fillet fish, but he or she needs to work on pastry making skills’ and we can concentrate on that for a while, rather than teaching things the person already knows.
“Being flexible with times and tuition is very important to clients. We fit around them – and they are happy, knowing that they won’t lose the apprentice at times when the kitchen is very busy.”
As well as food safety, preparation and cooking, apprentices learn people skills - important in a job where many will have to interact with customers and suppliers - as well as getting some business grounding in the industry.
Budgeting, controlling wastage, menu design and marketing, are all covered.
“Nowadays, when one negative review on Trip Advisor can have a real impact on a business, it’s important commis chefs really understand why things are done the way they are. One mistake can be broadcast to thousands of people,” notes Del.
“This is why I really like this new apprenticeship. It’s giving more skills, more knowledge, but in the real world from day one. You understand you’re an essential cog in the wheel that makes a good kitchen – and a good business.”