The Talbot Collection is helping to tackle the shortage of chefs around the country by investing in an innovative training programme for trainee chefs.

Running in conjunction with Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board (KWETB), the programme is training 21 chefs across the entire hotel collection, all of whom are receiving a salary, accommodation, meals, and transport for the duration of the 12-week programme. The aim of the programme is to help trainee chefs learn, progress, and excel in their careers. The Talbot Collection is supporting the programme with an investment of €250,000.

The trainee chefs are already two weeks in and learning at the KWETB professional training kitchens. Upon completion of the 12-weeks of full-time training, each candidate will receive a City & Guilds Level 2, Diploma in Culinary Skills (the equivalent to a QQI Level 5 Award).

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 five hotels, Talbot Hotel Wexford; Talbot Hotel Stillorgan; Talbot Hotel Carlow; Midleton Park Hotel; or The Oriel House Hotel. This will be a continued permanent, full-time, and salaried contract as a junior commis chef.

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: “It’s no secret that our industry is facing challenges at the moment. We’ve spent several months carefully creating and developing this programme to ensure that participants receive the highest level of training from some of the most skilled professionals. The participants have thrown themselves into their training right from the beginning and it’s wonderful to see their talents and passion at such an early stage.”

Group Managing Director of the Talbot Collection Philip F. Gavin said: “I recently had the pleasure of visiting the candidates on site in one of the training centres and to say I was excited and proud at what I experienced is an understatement! This training programme is 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 I’m very excited at what’s to come over the next number of weeks.”

Already enjoying her experience is trainee chef Jelena Medvedeva who works in the Talbot Hotel Carlow. “I started working as a kitchen porter in the Talbot Carlow in February 2020, just before the pandemic. I’ve always loved being in the kitchen and this course is now giving me the opportunity to develop the skills I’ve learned over the last year and a half, and I’m also learning many new techniques. We are all very grateful to be learning from some of the most accomplished professionals in our industry and I am eager to keep learning from them over the next two months.”

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 innovative initiative. “As we head in to our third week, each of our 21 chefs are doing excellently! Last week they cooked lunch for 15 people, to an excellent standard, and they are all full of enthusiasm. I really believe this programme is coming at the perfect time considering the difficulties faced by hotels, restaurants, bars and cafes at the moment. The KWETB looks forward to partnering with the Talbot Collection again in the future.”

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

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