By Catering Apprentice Ben
My name’s Ben and I’m an apprentice at Central Bedfordshire College: I’m currently doing a Level 2 Commis Chef apprenticeship where I will gain the starting skills of being a chef. I have been here for just over a year now and I am coming to the end of my apprenticeship with the option to do a Level 3 Chef De Partie apprenticeship here afterwards. My time here has been very good, with a great boss and great team around me to help me on my way to being a professional chef.
The best part of working here is the amount of opportunities I have been given; I have been able to get experience at some big name restaurants around Bedfordshire, such as Paris House in Woburn, where I went to the restaurant and spent a day prepping food for one of the College’s theme evenings. The head chef from Paris House also came back to College for the theme evening to help out the team and show us some of his skills. I have also worked at Luton Hoo serving canapés to the Masterchefs of England for an event. I’ve been involved in a wedding too, and have been given other opportunities such as being involved in a few competitions where I have a silver medal from cutting chicken for sautée. The best is yet to come – I was given the opportunity to go to Luxembourg for the cooking world championship; however, I was unable to make it, but my colleagues went and had a great time cooking and serving food to some the best Chefs in the world. This coming Monday after writing this I will be helping to cook for 340 people at Weston-Super-Mare for an event where we will prepare a three course meal for homeless people. An apprenticeship at Central Bedfordshire College does give you opportunities you wouldn’t get in many other places.
On a day to day basis at College I will help out in the Café we have, which serves hot and cold food and drink, and then by 10 I will have started in the kitchen for the restaurant or classes I will attend. I usually am in the restaurant two or three days a week and will be in practical cooking lessons for the other two to three days a week, so I am constantly learning new things. What’s great about the College restaurant is that we change the menu every fortnight so we are always making and serving new food I may never have made before.
Every month we have a theme evening where up to 100 people will come to restaurant and we will serve a set menu dish from the place that the theme is that month: for example, we have recently had a western Africa themed evening and have also had themes from Italy, France, Asia and others. As an apprentice I also deal with cashing up, taking deliveries, checking stock, writing orders and other responsibilities on a daily basis.
After my apprenticeship ends I will be moving to London so unfortunately I will not be able to carry on at the College to do my level 3 apprenticeship however I have applied for some apprenticeships in London and hope to complete my Level 3 and go on to university. I never thought university was an option for me however I have found out more recently that it is and I hope to go to the University of Birmingham to study food and practical cookery and come away with a Bachelor’s degree. I would recommend Central Bedfordshire College to anyone looking for an apprenticeship from the experience I have had here. I do not regret working here one bit.