Study Type: Apprenticeship
Study Location: Workplace
Subject Studied: Hospitality and Catering
Apprenticeships the way forward for young chefs and employers says head chef Tom
Head chef and former Derby College Group apprentice Tom Gaskin firmly believes that apprenticeships are the vital ingredient employers need if they are to develop and keep the best young staff.
Tom, who works at Fairways at Chevin Golf Club in Duffield, is overseeing a team of young DCG apprentices who are at various stages in their training.
He said: “Building a young team, through the college, means we can all develop together. We’re always experimenting and practising new dishes for our menus.
“Given the current state of the industry, employers need to do all they can to hold onto chefs, especially the young ones as they’re so keen to learn and progress.
“By taking on apprentices moving through levels 2 and 3, there is continuity. That’s incredibly beneficial for employers as it enables them to keep their employees and it allows staff to build their careers in one place.”
Now 23, Tom put himself through the Level 3 Chef de Partie apprenticeship when he first joined the golf club’s restaurant six years ago.
After completing his course mostly on-site, he was offered the position of head chef and has since built his own catering team around his role.
Tom said taking on young staff had given the kitchen freedom to practise new menus and expand its range of dishes, using the latest methods and techniques.
As well as serving more traditional breakfasts, lunches and dinners, the Chevin also hosts functions, providing Tom and the team with the chance to introduce new fine dining dishes as well as the classics – a menu compromising 50 starters 50 mains and 50 desserts.
He added: “Taking the Level 3 helped advance my career. It gave me the opportunity to get work experience with butchers and fishmongers where I learned new techniques and cooking methods.
“Thanks to my course, I’ve been able to develop the fine dining side of my work, which is where my passion lies, and create a variety of multi-course tasting menus.
“In addition, my level 3 has been invaluable in helping me with aspects of my role outside of hands-on cooking, such as developing menus within budget, hitting financial targets, exceeding health and safety compliance standards and managing rotas and staff contracts.”
Tom had originally planned to go into engineering but, in sixth form, found his true vocation while working at the Fox and Hounds in Coxbench.
He said: “I was a pot washer but one evening one of the chefs couldn’t come in so I was put on starters and desserts.
“I loved it and knew from that moment that I wanted to train as a chef. I love my job and I’d quite like to have my own 30 or 40 seater restaurant one day.”
Taking the Level 3 helped advance my career. It gave me the opportunity to get work experience with butchers and fishmongers where I learned new techniques and cooking methods.