Train to be a Professional Chef

At the Ashburton Chefs Academy our mission is to launch the careers of the future stars of the culinary world. The Professional Culinary Diploma is a prestigious training programme designed to launch your career as a professional chef of the highest calibre, ready to meet the demands of today's employers.

Becoming a top chef takes ambition, dedication, passion and skill. The UK is in the midst of a culinary renaissance and employers are demanding qualified, skilled and creative chefs. Despite this demand there is currently a huge skills shortage within the industry for qualified chefs. We extend our training to develop the full range of skills and qualities needed to be a modern head chef from core cooking skills to management to leadership skills and beyond.

Over the course of this 6 month programme we will:

  • Develop your culinary skills to a professional level.
  • Prepare you for a career as a head chef.
  • Inspire you to become the best cook you can be.

Graduating from the Professional Culinary Diploma sets you out as a committed professional, ahead of the competition, possessing not only excellent cooking skills, but also the managerial skills that employers are crying out for.

Who is this course suitable for?

Typical ambitions of those that take this course include:

  • launching a career as a professional chef;
  • opening a bistro or restaurant;
  • launching a catering business;
  • personal development
Course Content

Professional Culinary Diploma

Training: Full-time
Mon to Fri: 9.30am to 4pm
Duration: 20 weeks

Accredited Qualifications

  • CTH Level 4 Diploma in Professional Culinary Arts
  • CIEH Level 3 Award in Food Safety
  • WSET Level 1 Foundation Certificate in Wines

Student Loans

You can apply for a Professional & Career Development Loan of up to £10,000 to help you to pay for this course.

Find out about Student Loans

Meet Academy Students

Academy students come from a wide range of backgrounds. From mature students who want to launch a second career, to those looking for an alternative to university.

Read more

Course Content

Students will receive a comprehensive training programme that will develop the qualities and skills required to become a successful chef. We take a modern approach to chef development working to build the full range of skills and qualities required by today's chefs.

Our 'Total Chef' training is a holistic approach to chef development and is unique to the Ashburton Chefs Academy focusing on three areas of development which we call Hands, Head, Heart.

Hands

A chef is nothing without a mastery of the practical skills to create great food. We will teach you all of the fundamental cookery skills required to enter a professional kitchen with confidence, ready to deal with any challenge.

Around 70 days of your course content will be dedicated to developing your core cooking skills and a complete understanding of the essential cookery concepts and skills.

This will include theory sessions and chef demonstrations, but predominantly you will be working in the kitchen.

Real World Experience - Towards the end of your course, you will also experience the pressure and excitement of cooking for paying customers as you prepare and deliver a 5-course tasting menu to guests at the Ashburton Dining Club.

Skills you will learn

  • Knife Skills
  • Professional Kitchen Skills
  • Hors d'oeuvres, cocktails & canapes
  • Meat, Poultry & Game
  • Fish & Shellfish
  • Yeast Products, Bakery & Pastry
  • Pastries, Desserts & Confectionery
  • Farinaceous Dishes
  • Terrine Dishes
  • Stocks, Sauces & Dressings
  • Soups
  • Vegetables & Salads
  • Presentation Skills
  • Wine & Food Matching
  • Menu Planning
  • Sous Vide
  • and more

Heart

Great cooking comes from the heart! Students that are accepted on the Professional Culinary Diploma are committed, ambitious and are passionate about food and cooking. We will focus your passion to enrich and inspire your cooking.

Inspiring Guest Lectures
You will meet some of the most inspirational chefs in the region who have earned a reputation for excellence in their chosen area, along with artisans such as master butchers and fishmongers to give you great depth to your knowledge.
Field Trips & Visits
You will meet some of the food producers behind the ingredients you will be working with and we will help foster an interest and understanding of the importance of the path from land and sea to plate.
Ethics & Issues
And we will explore some of the ethical choices to be made in catering today and some of the wider environmental issues that affect us all.
Qualifications

Course Overview

Real World Experience

Field Trip Gallery

Qualifications

The professional Culinary Diploma incorporates the following certificates and qualifications:-

Ashburton Chefs Academy Professional Culinary Diploma

The Professional Culinary Diploma is a valuable record of your graduation from this prestigious course.

CTH Level 4 Diploma in Professional Culinary Arts

The Level 4 Diploma in Professional Culinary Arts, one of the highest rated practical cookery qualification in the UK. This accredited qualification is regulated by Ofqual and externally accredited by the Confederation of Tourism and Hospitality.

The qualification is divided between practical and theoretical sessions but with a strong emphasis on the practical element. The qualification will develop culinary skills by working in a kitchen environment which will be enhanced through demonstrations, appropriate theory sessions and visits. You will be continually assessed throughout the Diploma and receive one-to-one feedback with the chef tutors each term. A 3 day practical assessment will ensure

It is worth 96 credits within the governments Qualifications Credit Framework.

Visit the CTH Website

CIEH Level 3 Award in Food Safety

The Level 3 Award in Food Safety is an essential qualification aimed at those working in a supervisory position in the food business who are not only responsible but also accountable for food safety. The 3 day course takes place in the first week of the Diploma with a multiple choice exam required to pass the qualification.

Visit the CIEH Website

Leadership in the Kitchen

The ability to manage, motivate and inspire your team is essential to build excellence into your kitchen, so why aren't these skills taught to chefs? Our unique programme has been developed for the Chefs Academy by experts in leadership training to develop your skills as a leader and mentor within the kitchen.

WSET Level 1 Foundation Certificate in Wines

The WSET Level 1 is a 1 day course offered as part of larger wine training throughout the course. It is a basic course that covers the main grape varieties and food and wine matching.

Visit the WSET Website

2014/15 Course Dates

Questions?

Our student advisors are here to answer your questions 7 days a week.

Contact Us

Course Dates

The Professional Culinary Diploma consists of 3 terms, with a week long break between them. We run 3 Diplomas per year.
The course runs from 9.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.

J F M A M J J A S O N D
  Diploma 1: January to June   Diploma 3: July to December
  Diploma 2: April to September  

2014 Diploma 3

Term 1
(6 weeks)
Tue 22 Jul to
Fri 29 Aug, 2014
Term 2
(7 weeks)
Mon 08 Sep to
Fri 24 Oct, 2014
Term 3
(7 weeks)
Mon 03 Nov to
Fri 19 Dec, 2014

2015 Diploma 1

Term 1
(6 weeks)
Tue 06 Jan to
Fri 13 Feb, 2015
Term 2
(7 weeks)
Mon 23 Feb to
Fri 10 Apr, 2015
Term 3
(7 weeks)
Mon 20 Apr to
Fri 05 Jun, 2015

2015 Diploma 2

Term 1
(6 weeks)
Tue 14 Apr to
Fri 22 May, 2015
Term 2
(7 weeks)
Mon 01 Jun to
Fri 17 Jul, 2015
Term 3
(7 weeks)
Mon 27 Jul to
Fri 11 Sep, 2015

2015 Diploma 3

Term 1
(6 weeks)
Tue 21 Jul to
Fri 28 Aug, 2015
Term 2
(7 weeks)
Mon 07 Sep to
Fri 23 Oct, 2015
Term 3
(7 weeks)
Mon 02 Nov to
Fri 18 Dec, 2015
Residential

Student Accommodation

There are a number of options for students requiring accommodation during their course:

  • We maintain a list of local rooms and b&b's that offer affordable long-term accommodation in Ashburton, Exeter and the surrounding area;
  • We offer a shared accommodation lodge at finlake holiday park (see below)

Whatever your accomodation requirements we are happy to provide support in this area. Please contact us to discuss your needs.

Questions?

Our student advisors are here to answer your questions 7 days a week.

Contact Us

Finlake

Our unique residential package for Chefs Academy students offers a fantastic experience that you won't find anywhere else. Set in 130 acres of magnificent Devon countryside, Finlake is one of the country's most sought after holiday destinations just 15 minutes from Ashburton.

Academy students share a luxury, 3-bedroomed woodland lodge which is fitted to the highest standards. Featuring a spacious shared lounge and dining area, tv, fitted kitchen & bathrooms, as well as outdoor deck and bbq areas.

Finlake offers a wealth of activities to help you relax after your training in the kitchen. Start the day with an early morning swim in the heated indoor pool, keep fit in the extensive fitness room, or enjoy one of the many woodland walks. Enjoy a fresh coffee in the park cafe, or unwind with a drink in the bar and restaurant with friends.

Accommodation includes access to all leisure facilities and free minibus transport between Finlake and the Ashburton Cookery School. Finlake is truly an inspirational setting from which to complete your studies at the Chefs Academy.

Student Lodges
Shared Lounge
Fitted Kitchen
Indoor Pool
Fitness Room
Restaurant, Cafe and Bar
Horse Riding & Walks
Fishing Lakes & Cycling Path
Tennis Courts

The Heart of Devon

Located just 15 minutes from the Academy, you will enjoy the peace of Finlakes rural location, while benefiting from the proximity to local town services of Chudleigh. You are also perfectly positioned to take advantage of all that Devon has to offer, with Dartmoor National Park on your doorstep and the Eat Devon coast just 15 minutes away.

Exeter is just 20 minutes by car which provides plenty in the way of shopping, services and entertainment. And of course, the Cornish border is only 1 hour away.

Devon is one of Europe's finest food regions, and you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to food producers, farmer's markets, fine restaurants and some of the UK's best pubs.

Explore More

Course Fees

Site Facilities

  • Indoor heated swimming pool
  • Outdoor heated swimming pool with giant water slide
  • Gym and Tennis courts
  • Health and Leisure club including sauna, steam room
  • Bar and restaurant
  • Fishing lakes
  • Horse riding
  • Walking and nature trails
  • 9 hole golf course
  • Farm shop
  • Launderette

Lodge Facilities

  • TV with selected Freeview channels/DVD
  • Kitchen including microwave and fridge/freezer
  • Washing machine/dryer
  • Bath and/or shower
  • Decking area with patio furniture
  • Double glazed and heated throughout
  • Gas and electricity included
  • Bed linen and duvets
  • Free Car Parking
  • Free minibus shuttle to and from Academy

Fees

  Course Only Optional Accommodation
Mon to Fri
9.00am to 4pm
Finlake - Shared Lodge
7 nights/week (133 nights)

2014/15
Professional Culinary Diploma
(20 Weeks)

 

Course Fee:
£15,995 inc VAT

Includes:

  • All Course Notes
  • Equipment
  • Lunch
  • Chef Uniforms x 3
  • All Field Trips
  • External Exam Fees & 
    Course Books for 
    WSET, CIEH, CTH
  • Travel Insurance

 

Accommodation Fee:
£4,655 inc VAT

Includes:

  • Free use of leisure facilites, gym, pool
  • Free mini-bus service to/from Ashburton
  • Bed linen
  • Cleaning service
Residential Details

Non-refundable deposit

10% (£1560)
30% (£1400)
Full amount payable:

6 weeks prior to start of course.
Note: Payments made by credit card incur a 1.3% bank processing fee. Debit card, cheque or bank transfer incur no fee.

Frequently Asked Questions

Student Loans

You can apply for a Professional & Career Development Loan of up to £10,000 to help you to pay for this course.

Find out about Student Loans

FAQ

The minimum age to join this course is 18 years old.

Typcially we see age ranges from 18 to 55 years old with a 60% male to 40% female split. There will be a broad range of people from different backgrounds and different life experiences on our courses. We have people that are retraining after a long career in public service or the forces, professionals making a sea-change and planning to open up their dream bistro, people planning to launch an outdoor catering business, or keen amateur cooks that want to develop their skills.

This course is full-time, with intensive practical training. This is one of the reasons why our students can achieve so much during their time with us. Academy students receive 34 hours direct tuition a week, Monday to Thursday 9.30 to 4.30 and Friday 9.30 to 3.30 in addition to some home study assignments.

Yes, we are accredited by the British Accreditation Council so you can apply for a student visa to study with us.
Please visit this page for further information for International Students.

We have a maximum of 16 places per diploma course running. Demand is high for this course and we would recommend you contact us several months before the start of the course to secure your place.

The Professional Culinary Diploma is not directly comparable with a course that you will find at a state catering college, since the Ashburton Chefs Academy is a private culinary school offering a specialist course.

Course sizes are kept small (maximum of 16) to ensure the highest quality training and you will be using quality equipment, the finest ingredients and being taught by the best chef tutors. During the course you will receive at least 34 hours tuition a week. In addition, all of your exam fees and chef equipment are absorbed into the cost of the course. Given the quality of training on offer we believe the course offers excellent value for money, although we recognise it is a substantial investment for an individual.

When you compare courses be sure to look closely at the number of real training hours you receive per week, the quality of tutors and facilities, and be sure to factor in the cost of living while on your course.

We are unable to provide grants for our courses but you may qualify for a Professional and Career Development Loans of up to £10,000 for this course.

Please visit our page about Career Development Loans for details.

Whilst you do not need any professional cookery experience, you should be able to demonstrate a passion for cookery and so we would expect you to be familiar with common kitchen equipment, and basic cookery concepts, such as frying, grilling, baking etc as well as the ability to follow a recipe. Absolute beginners would be expected to take the Foundation cookery course to reach the entry level standard for the Professional Culinary Diploma

Not at all. This is a common question we get from mature students who are considering retraining in a new career and are concerned that they are going to feel like they are going back to school. Our courses are not like those offered by a traditional catering college - both in the style of training we offer and the environment you will learn in. The broad range of ages and backgrounds of students at the Ashburton Chefs Academy will mean you feel very much at home.

Yes, Professional Diploma students are covered under our block travel insurance policy from leading insurers Endsleigh. This policy provides insurance cover starting the 1st of the following month after you have paid your deposit, and continues through to completion of your course.

The insurance policy covers you for the following events:

  1. Emergency and Medical Service
    Medical expertise to arrange emergency or medical assistance or transport home following an accident or illness or if you are informed of a serious illness of a close relative at home.
  2. Travel Cancellation or curtailment charges
    Cover for costs against unavoidable or necessary cancellation or curtailment of travel during the insured period due to death, injury or illness, up to a maximum of £3,000.
  3. Emergency medical and other expenses
    Emergency medical, surgical, hospital, ambulance and nursing fees up to £2,000,000.
  4. Personal Accident
    Up to £30,000 for death, loss of limb or sight and permanent total disablement, subject to age.
  5. Baggage
    Accidental loss, theft or damage to baggage of up to £1,000.
  6. Personal Liability
    For any compensation you become legally liable to pay up to £1,000,000.
  7. Course Fees
    Up to £16,000 for costs against unavoidable or necessary cancellation or curtailment of your course before completion due to death, bodily injury or illness of yourself or a close relative.
The insurance does not cover “change-of-mind” or any scenario that is not specifically detailed in the policy document. Any claims are initiated and pursued by the student through the insurance provider directly, and any agreed insurance payments due are made by the insurance provider direct to the student upon the successful completion of a claim.

Please read the policy document to ensure you understand the cover provided and exclusions - such as pre-existing medical conditions. Click here to read the policy.

If you feel the insurance policy is not suitable for your needs, you must take out your own travel insurance policy prior to booking the course. There is no rebate in respect of non-use of our insurance policy.

You should be committed to complete the course prior to enrolling, and our interview process is designed to assess your commitment and suitability for the course. Demand is high for places on this course and whilst rare, non-participation can deprive other potential students of a place. We will always aim to be as flexible as possible and work with you to help find the best solution to any challenges you might face.

Cancellation Policy in a Nutshell

  • To secure your place on the course requires a non-refundable deposit of 10% (see course fees).
  • The balance of payments of course fees are due 6 weeks before the start of the course. (This date is called theEnrolment Threshold)
  • Should you wish to cancel your place before the Enrolment Threshold we will refund all course fees minus the deposit. If you wish to defer your booking to a future course (and we are able to sell your existing booking), we may also agree to transfer your deposit to the future course date.
  • After the Enrolment Threshold you will have paid the remainder of your course fees. You will also be insured under our insurance policy against sickness or injury to yourself or an immediate relative that prevents you taking the course. In cases of cancellation due to an insurable issue, you would initiate an insurance claim to try and recover the lost fees.
  • If you wish to cancel the course booking for a non-insurable reason after the Enrolment Threshold, such as 'change of circumstance' or 'change of mind', we will attempt to resell your place for you. If we are able to resell your place, you may request a full refund of course fees (minus the deposit) or transfer your fees (and deposit) to a future course date. If, despite best efforts, we are unable to resell your place, you would lose the full cost of your booking.

We provide you with your own chef uniform to keep, and all the equipment you will need is provided within the course.

Confidence and self-belief come from mastering the fundamentals of cooking. No qualification can replace years of experience in a commercial kitchen of course, but we will prepare you to be a skilled chef with a good technical ability, excellent presentation skills and the confidence to be able to cope in a pressured and commercial environment, be that a michellin starred restaurant or cooking for a private function.

An Ashburton Chefs Academy Professional Culinary Diploma is a professional qualification that is highly regarded within the catering industry. Graduates can expect to be considered seriously for entry level chef positions in top restaurants. Your training at the Chefs Academy is aimed at preparing you for a future head chef position, but of course this is dependant on your own ambitions and the opportunities that come your way.

The Academy will be able to support you in your search for employment with references and introduce you to the vacancies offered by partner companies at hotels, restaurants, chalet and yacht crew agencies.

Out of our most recent graduates (June 2013), all those that were seeking to enter a professional kitchen were offered jobs at some of the leading restaurants in the UK since their commitment to the industry and their level of skill was highly regarded.

We are blessed with some of Europe's finest food producer's in Devon and Cornwall, and all the food we source is from high quality local, food suppliers. It is our policy to reduce food miles, to source seasonal organic ingredients at every opportunity, and to only use sustainable food stocks. We audit the provenance of all of the produce we use. Your training and your food will benefit substantially from our approach which is in contrast to many other institutions.

We are blessed with some of Europe's finest food producer's in Devon and Cornwall, and all the food we source is from high quality local, food suppliers. It is our policy to reduce food miles, to source seasonal organic ingredients at every opportunity, and to only use sustainable food stocks. We audit the provenance of all of the produce we use. Your training and your food will benefit substantially from our approach which is in contrast to many other institutions.

There are a small handful of well established Culinary Schools in the UK offering a similar standard of training. Whilst some of the qualifications and aspects of the course may appear the same, the courses are delivered in a way unique to each establishment. Some focus on classical French training for example, whereas our focus is on developing broader skills, passion and thinking relevant to the modern chef, designed to fast-track your career.

You can choose to stay in our accommodation option at Finlake which offers a quality, affordable environment for our students. We also maintain a list of affordable local bed and breakfast options that will give you a comfortable home from home while training in Ashburton. Please contact us for further details.

If you are ready to take the next step to joing the Chefs Academy, complete our online enrolment form here. We will contact you to arrange an informal phone interview with a senior chef tutor who will discuss the course with you and answer any questions you may have about the course. Once we have established your suitability for the course, you will be offered written acceptance to the Chefs Academy.

This entitles you to enrol on any Professional Culinary Diploma scheduled within the next 2 years. We will also send you an enrolment pack which you would complete and return back to us. Once you have paid your deposit your place will be reserved on the course date of your choice.


Apply for this course

Questions?

Our student advisors are here to answer your questions 7 days a week.

Contact Us

Apply

To apply for the Professional Culinary Diploma simply contact us to speak to a student advisor or apply online below.

Fill out my online form.

Questions?

Our student advisors are here to answer your questions 7 days a week.

Contact Us