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WLC to Host First Chefs’ Forum Conference for Hospitality Lecturers

The Chefs’ Forum is proud to announce that due to “exceptional” interest from both colleges and industry, their first Continuing Professional Development (CPD) virtual conference will take place at West London College on 14-15 and 20-21 January 2021. The event, which is open to college lecturers, will highlight the important areas CPD can deliver to create the blueprint for future curricula.

Denise Charles, Head of Curriculum, Service Industries at West London College is delighted to be hosting this inaugural virtual CPD conference at the college and is excited to showcase the facility to her teaching peers. Denise said: “We have been working with The Chefs’ Forum for the last five years and are now in the second year of running a Chefs’ Forum Academy at the college, which sees top chefs and experts visit our students in their usual learning environment to deliver masterclasses to enrich the curriculum. Hosting this event will show other colleges that we are extremely passionate about giving learners the best possible learning experience.”

The masterclasses, although virtual at the moment due to COVID-19 restrictions, are something that the teaching staff and students really enjoy on a weekly basis.

Catherine Farinha of The Chefs’ Forum said: “CPD is an unbelievably important topic at the moment. Research indicates that learning new skills increases job satisfaction and the significance of CPD is that every piece of development enhances a chef’s CV and value. CPD can lead to new opportunities, support career progression and provide the confidence to and take on more senior roles. This also applies to all other roles and positions throughout hospitality.”

The Chefs’ Forum has put together a programme of events for industry leaders and high-quality artisan suppliers to discuss business development so that colleges can design innovative and highly relevant curriculum content. The programme will provide a mix of interactive masterclasses, blended with sessions to explore the hottest topics impacting the success of students as they enter the industry. It aims to provide the essential link between suppliers and producers with industry specialists and hospitality educators.

Chef, educator and author Neil Rippington who is working with the Chefs’ Forum to develop and deliver the conference said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to get the right people together to develop something special for the future of students and the industry they are passionate to thrive in. There are great career opportunities for people entering the industry. The skills, knowledge and understanding needed for sustainable success require more than the creation of aesthetically pleasing dishes presented on cool and trendy tableware. All of the aspects considered in this CPD conference, including high-quality sustainable supply, good business acumen, a great skills-set and a passion for the industry, provide a solid foundation for an exciting future.”

One of the featured sessions will be Masterchef finalist Philli Armitage-Matins, a champion of business education for chefs, headlining a session on business studies for culinary students, alongside the iconic chef and entrepreneur, Chris Galvin.

Chris said: “In my experience of employing many young chefs, it is becoming increasingly clear that a critical link is missing with basic financial acumen. Today, inspired young chefs are entering a wonderful industry, often on the basis of what a plate of food should look like or the feel of a restaurant without a simple understanding of how it is afforded. Modern restaurants have to be brutally, financially efficient to survive and prosper, yet managers and owners have little time to teach these fundamentals. Talented young chefs who are fortunate and move up the ladder, often come crashing down because of an inability to grasp financial acumen. I am thrilled that this might be taught to young chefs in a modern way so that they at least have a balanced understanding of commercial hospitality business.”

The subjects being discussed at the conference, include:

  • Business studies for culinary students
  • The future challenges for the front of house
  • Urban honey production
  • Chocolate masterclass
  • Ethical and sustainable cooking
  • Blended learning – the new normal
  • Game masterclass
  • Integrating maths and English
  • Exploring flavour profiles
  • Practical curriculum development – industry and education working together
  • Sugar masterclass
  • The virtuousness and versatility of macadamia nuts

Neil Rippington added: “CPD is essential activity rather than an option or expectation for educators. It provides access to contemporary practice and the opportunity to stay up to date with changing trends and innovation. Through regular CDP, lecturers will enhance their knowledge and skills so that they can pass this on to learners through their teaching and engagement. They will become more effective and naturally generate a deeper interest in the profession, whilst developing a sense of achievement and personal benefit. The networking opportunities CPD presents are so valuable and bring education and the industry much closer together.”

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