Aspiring chefs at Royal Harbour Academy get hands on experience in professional kitchen

Chef Mike Spackman with RHA students

Last term, The Royal Harbour Academy in Ramsgate hosted a six-week Aspiring Chef Programme, providing 40 enthusiastic students with an opportunity to pursue their culinary dreams.

The initiative, aimed at nurturing young talent interested in culinary careers, was made possible through the support of several local benefactors.

The Royal Harbour Academy was granted ESG funding of £500 from Avison Young UK, £500 from the Tesco Token Community, which was then match funded by both the school and Newington Big Local, bringing the total funding to £2000. This financial support enabled the school to offer this enriching experience at no cost to the students.

Under the expert guidance of BBC award-winning chef Mike Spackman, the students participated in six weekly sessions, each lasting two hours. The sessions were designed to enhance their culinary skills and provide them with invaluable hands-on experience in a professional kitchen setting.

Throughout the programme, the aspiring chefs learned a variety of techniques, from basic knife skills to advanced cooking methods. They had the opportunity to prepare a wide range of dishes, each week focusing on different cuisines and cooking styles. Chef Spackman also shared insights into the culinary industry, offering tips on how to succeed in this competitive field.

Mrs Todd, who assisted with the delivery of the programme, said: “To be a part of such a wonderful scheme for the children has been very rewarding. To watch students from week 1 to week 6 grow in confidence with their cooking was amazing. Each week they built up skills and learned new techniques, and it was a joy to watch them work as a team.

“I’m sure they have made some new friends along the way. The students were 100% committed and fully focused – the food they delivered was very tasty too. It was such a pleasure to be a part of this programme and I look forward to the next one.”

The sessions also boosted the students’ confidence and inspired many to seriously consider careers in the culinary arts. The success of the Aspiring Chef Programme highlights the importance of community support in fostering young talent and providing them with the opportunities they need to succeed.

Chef Spackman, who heads up the Newington Big Local kitchen at the community centre, said: “It was a complete and utter joy to work with 40 energetic and enthusiastic young people who, without exception, had made very emotive and powerful statements in advance of the programme as to why they should be considered for the course.

“It highlights a very real need to raise the profile of food education as an essential life skill. We know that, for too many young people, responsibilities at home can often include the need to be able to prepare and cook a meal for their siblings in the absence of parents who may be yet to return from work.

“Young carers are under constant pressure and find themselves having to cook for an adult family member with certain medical conditions.

“So I now find myself ‘hungry’ to both offer and do more in partnership with The Royal Harbour Academy. This is a school that clearly places each and every young person at the heart of their own learning and development.

“ I can’t begin to truly express how grateful I have been for the opportunity to share my passion for all and everything that pertains to young people’s overall health and well-being.”

The Royal Harbour Academy is grateful to Newington Big Local and the Tesco Token Community for their contributions and to Chef Mike Spackman for his dedication and expertise. The school looks forward to continuing this programme in the future and supporting the next generation of culinary stars.

1 Comment

  1. they need to put these children in the school kitchen , as children have told me the fare coming out of the school kitchen is dire , and often inedible !

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