{ Skills for Today’s Restaurant Kitchen Developing a Collaborative Approach to

Skills for Today’s
Restaurant Kitchen
Developing a Collaborative Approach to
Culinary Education in Ireland
Ruth Hegarty
Secretary-General, Euro-Toques Ireland
TASTE Council Summer School
Ballymaloe House, 3 May 2013
A vision for the Irish restaurant sector
What skills, knowledge and attitude are required
Where did we stand in relation to Chef Training
Where are we now – Euro-Toques IoT MOU
The Next Steps
Obstacles & Gaps
Future Opportunities
What we need to do to move forward
What kind of chefs to we
want to train?
What are we training
them for?
What kind of industry do
we want to create?
How do we help create chefs who understand where
food is at in Ireland & where it can get to
& who have the passion and drive to take it forward?
Food Tourism
Chefs who – like our Basque colleagues – are
‘proud of how far we have come,
of where we were born and raised’
who work with Tradition – Origins – Heritage – Evolution in mind
What Skills ?
Basic Skills
Traditional/Classical Skills
Contemporary Techniques
Product sourcing skills
Taste & Organoleptics
Business & Customer
Food Safety Training
Basic food science
What Abilities ?
To deal with fresh,
unprocessed ingredients
To recognise Quality
To understand real Taste &
Flavour and what works
To deal fairly & responsibly
with suppliers
To run a business
What it means for us in a practical sense?
Some examples
Recognising species of fish, knowing how to tell they are fresh,
knowing how to skins, fillet etc
Knowing the different cuts of meat – how they are
butchered/prepped, how they need to be cooked
Having knowledge of native ingredients, their seasons, how
they are grown
Tasting everything! – understanding the impact of seasoning
Beyond Skills…
In-depth knowledge of ingredients
Understanding of Agriculture & Food
Awareness of Culture & Heritage
Awareness of our impact on society, the
environment etc
Beyond Skills…
Can’t teach this, about making sure we attract the right
Hotel & Catering Review, August 2011
‘Sharpening our Skills’
We can produce the goods
when it comes to ingredients,
but are we producing the
professionals to do them
Why ask this question?
Starting in Summer 2011 constant call from industry chefs
complaining they could not get good kitchen staff
They complained of:
Skills gaps – primarily a worrisome lack of good knife
skills & basic traditional/classical skills
Lack of knowledge of ingredients
Lack of understanding of Taste
General ‘de-skilling’ & move towards ‘catalogue cooking’
Unwillingness to do the hard graft
Unrealistic Expectations
Had also been conscious for some time of lack of
exposure of trainee chefs to quality local & seasonal
Led to more questions?
What was happening in our training colleges?
What challenges were they facing?
What was industry doing to help?
Who was leading/guiding culinary education in Ireland?
Started asking a lot of questions – and it wasn’t always easy
to get the answers!
Up to 2011
Euro-Toques Chef Development Programme
Since 2007
supported by La Rousse Foods
Aim of Programme
To tackle some of the issues identified in the industry and to make
a practical contribution the training of Chefs by:
- Exposing students to excellent top ingredients
- Introducing them to Euro-Toques principles of sourcing (local,
seasonal etc.) and exposing them to local/artisan producers,
farmers etc.
- Teaching the fundamental importance of TASTE
- Demonstrating traditional/forgotten skills
- Keeping them up to date on industry trends
- Exposing them to industry chefs and industry realities
- Bring industry chefs and their suppliers into colleges on regular basis to
carry out workshops/demo s
- Well received by colleges
- Built from 3 or 4 colleges in YR1 to holding workshops for all 10
colleges each semester
- Huge enthusiasm from certain lecturers
- Rewarding for students and industry chefs alike
Communication was difficult/ad hoc
Varied levels of attendance – often not effectively communicated
No official arrangement with the colleges
Little understanding of what else was happening in the colleges
or how we could contribute
Feeling it was ‘drop in the ocean’; no influence on rest of
curriculum, food being cooked, ingredients being used
Sense of some fear/lack of welcome from some faculty staff
But THEN……
Couple of things happened
 Approached by CAIT NOONE of
GMIT to work on Food Pillar Team
for Volvo Ocean Race, June 2011
started discussing our
frustrations with regard to
influencing culinary education
 Published article on Chef Skills in
Hotel & Catering Review, Aug 2011
drew attention from colleges
What Transpired…..
 Discovered existence of the IOTI Head of Dept ‘Tourism Education’ group
 Many many meetings between Ruth Hegarty & Cait Noone, GMIT (Chair of
Group), Sept -Dec 2011
 CN & RH draft Memorandum of Understanding between Euro-Toques &
 & Euro-Toques Membership Proposal for Institutes
 Cait Noone invited to meet Board of Commissioners & Food Council of
Euro-toques, January 2012
 Ruth Hegarty invited to meeting of IOTI ‘Tourism Education’, made up of
HOS/HOD from colleges offering Tourism & Hospitality courses , March
2012, CIT
 Memorandum of Understanding signed with 9 IoTs – May 2012
 Institute Membership launched Sept 2012 with full take up.
What it means…..
 Student Work Placements in Euro-Toques establishments
 Faculty Professional Development – staff work placements
 Possibility of pursuing funding for collaborative activities (eg. Springboard)
 Participation of Euro-Toques in:
- Curriculum Planning & design (Advisory & Programme Boards)
- External examining
- Careers Fairs
- Guest lecturers, seminars etc
Institute Membership
 Full Membership of Euro-Toques for 2 nominated Culinary Arts Lecturers
 Honorary Membership for relevant HOD/HOS
 Free Membership for final year Culinary Arts students
 2 industry workshops per academic year in each member institute
 Guest lectures from Euro-Toques chefs
 Access to Euro-toques events & activities for staff & students
Means much more than what is on paper
Relationship with colleges on firmer footing
Official lines of communication
Real chance to influence curriculum & content of training courses for chefs
Opportunity to communicate the Euro-Toques philosophy to the industry
chefs of the near future
 Better understanding of the challenges and obstacles faced by the training
Realisation that Industry also needs to take responsibility for its role
in the training and development of chefs
Firm policy decision within Euro-Toques to WORK WITH the
institutes in development of culinary education
Still – it is only a FIRST STEP
But an important one:
Towards a Collaborative Approach to developing
Culinary Education in Ireland
A Future based on Collaboration
– the next steps
Currently – Springboard Application – collaboration between 5
IOTs with IHF and Euro-Toques to deliver additional chef courses
(meeting industry demand)
Developing Minor/Special Purpose Awards
Guidelines/Policy around Work Placement & Workplace Training
Advancement of Continued Professional Development for
Culinary Arts Faculty
Establishment of Euro-Toques Education Council
Coordinated collaboration at local level
Some things we would like to see happen…
Course Content/Curriculum
External industry workshops & guest lectures to become part of the
A stronger emphasis on Craft skills & practice of same
Modules to be introduced on Irish food heritage, developing Irish
Specific modules aimed at teaching chefs how to source local &
seasonal food
Visits from and to Farmers, Fishermen, Small-scale food producers
Updating of all course content to reflect the vision for today’s Irish
restaurant industry
Removal of content which is outdated or irrelevant in today’s Irish
industry context
Cost of Courses
The Practical vs The Academic
‘Never in my life have I had a good meal without using
top quality produce. It’s like needing air to breathe’
– Juan-Mari Arzak
Attracting the right people
Current & Future Opportunities
New Funding streams – new courses to meet needs of
Institute Mergers – opportunity to develop centres of
excellence, but only if true industry collaboration route is
Green Public Procurement – the EU has handed us an
opportunity for better food sourcing, why has Ireland not
taken it?
Transition Year Module – a chance to tell the story of food in
Ireland and ignite passion and interest in young people
What needs to happen?
The Big Picture
Green Public Procurement rolled out
Clarification of roles
Development of a Vision
Policy & Leadership from the top
Change in Attitude
What needs to happen?
On the Ground
Chefs need to go to schools to talk about the realities of a
career as a chef
College need to invite industry chefs to talk to 1st year
from Day One
No course developed/reviewed without quality industry
Industry must commit itself in a serious way not only to
working with the colleges on course development but to
providing a training environment in the workplace
Industry Patrons for each
Thank You
Ruth Hegarty
Euro-Toques Ireland
The European Community of Chefs & Cooks
T: @eurotoquesirl
Promoting Local Sourcing – Protecting Culinary Heritage