As Ireland’s hospitality industry continues to struggle to return to pre-pandemic service levels, The Talbot Collection has relaunched its training programme for Trainee Chefs.

With an investment of more than €250,000, the Talbot Collection set a precedent last year with its Chef Development Programme, the first of its kind in Ireland.

The programme will return for 2022 following the success of last year’s course which saw 19 chefs across the hotel collection have the opportunity to learn from the best in the industry at the KWETB professional training kitchens and upon completion of the 25-weeks of full-time training, each candidate will receive a City and Guilds Level 2, Diploma in Culinary Skills (the equivalent to a QQI Level 5 Award).

Running in conjunction with Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board (KWETB), all trainees will receive a salary, accommodation, meals, and transport for the duration of the 25-week programme. The aim of the programme is to help trainee Chefs learn, progress, and excel in their careers with a growing, progressive, and family-owned Irish company.

Following the programme, they will have the opportunity to learn and work on-the-job with a team of experienced Chefs in one of The Talbot Collection’s six hotels: Talbot Hotel Wexford, Talbot Hotel Stillorgan, Talbot Hotel Carlow, Midleton Park Hotel, Oriel House Hotel or the Talbot Hotel Clonmel. This will be a continued permanent, full-time, and salaried contract as a Junior Commis Chef.

Throughout their time on the job, candidates will receive continuous development by way of on-the-job training and experience, as well as additional online modules. They will also have the opportunity at the end of this tenure to take part in the Level 6 National Commis Chef Programme.

Nigel Corbett, Head Chef of the Talbot Collection Wexford, said: “We spent several months last year carefully creating and developing this programme to ensure that participants receive the highest level of training from some of the most skilled professionals. The success of last year’s programme and the talent and creativity produced was instrumental in our decision to relaunch the course this year, it really is a brilliant opportunity for anyone seeking to further their career as a chef in the hospitality industry.”

Group Managing Director of the Talbot Collection Philip F. Gavin said he is extremely proud of the work that’s gone into the training programme. “I had the pleasure of visiting the trainees on site last year in one of the training centres and to say I was excited and proud at what I experienced is an understatement! This training programme remains the first of its kind in Ireland and we’re hopeful that other businesses and groups will follow suit and start to invest in our hospitality industry in a similar way. The experience and practical skills that these trainee chefs are learning are truly second to none and after the success of last year’s programme I am very excited to see the talent that will emerge from this year’s programme.”

Celebrity chef Derry Clarke heaped praise on the initiative, saying it was a wonderful initiative for anyone who has ever considered becoming a chef.

“The Talbot Collection is very forward-thinking in providing this opportunity which is open to all. Cheffing is a life skill, not just a way of life,” Mr Clarke added.

Jelena Medvedeva was one of the trainees who completed last year’s very first Chef Development Programme. She now works at the Talbot Collection Carlow as a Commis Chef.

Jelena Medvedeva was one of the trainees who completed last year’s very first Chef Development Programme, she now works at the Talbot Collection Carlow as a Commis Chef.

She said this of her experience: “The Chef Development Programme taught me a lot and shaped me into the Chef I am today. I have reached many milestones during my time completing the programme at the Talbot Hotel Carlow.

“Our level 5 had a mix of existing industry members and complete newbies, but nonetheless we all mixed and worked as a team to make sure that we all moved along as one unit. We were pushed by our teachers to be the best we could be by the time we finished up, and either went back to the industry or went on further in the education field.

“I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be where I am today without Talbot Collection Chef Development Programme and the guidance and mentorship of Head Chef William Bayle, I loved my experience here and I am excited for all the opportunities that lie ahead.“

Eileen Cullen, Head of Training Services and Innovation in Kildare and Wicklow ETB said they are delighted to have partnered with the Talbot Collection on this initiative: “I am delighted to see the return of the Chef Development Programme this year, the programme is returning at the perfect time to assist in combating staff shortages in the hospitality industry and we welcome the investment in training and support by the Talbot Collection.

“The success of last year’s programme is evident, with 11 chefs now working in full-time positions within the industry. The KWETB looks forward to working with The Talbot Collection again this year and we would encourage those looking to improve their skills in a supportive and progressive environment to consider applying.”

Further information on The Talbot Collection Chef Development Programme can be found www.talbotcollection.ie.

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