Mon to Fri: 9.30am to 4.30pm
Duration: 20 weeks
CTH Level 4 Diploma in Professional Culinary Arts
- CIEH Level 3 Award in Food Safety
- WSET Level 1 Foundation Certificate in Wines
The Ashburton Chefs Academy 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.
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 join the Professional Culinary Diploma course include:
- launching a career as a professional chef;
- opening a bistro or restaurant;
- launching a catering business;
Why choose the Ashburton Chefs Academy ?
There are many routes to launching your career in catering. No course or qualification can replace years of experience in a professional catering environment, but the right training should lay the foundations for a fulfilling and a successful career.
The best cookery training is not just about simply teaching you the skills to cook a good plate of food. At the Ashburton Chefs Academy our mission is to launch the careers of the future stars of the culinary world. 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.
You will graduate with the confidence and direction you need to reach your goals.
"Many thanks to the fantastic chef tutors at Ashburton. With their mantra of seasonal, locally sourced fresh produce and meticulous attention to detail when training students. I now very happily have a job as one of the chefs at David Lloyd Leisure's restaurant in Raynes Park, London, preparing lovely fresh healthy dishes for our club members!"
"Thanks to @ChefsAcademy for the last 6 months. It all paid off..got a commis pastry position at Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant!! Mad!"
"Starting July I'll be working at The Royal Clarance Hotel Exeter / Abode Hotel's - Micahel Caine's Restaurant #excited Cheers @ChefsAcademy"
"I would like to thank @ChefsAcademy for the past 6 months as I now have a job on the pastry section at no.6 Paul Ainsworth!"
Read some student stories
Chef Director Darrin Hosegrove introduces you to the Professional Culinary Diploma 20 Week Course.
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™.
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
- Vegetables & Salads
- Presentation Skills
- Wine & Food Matching
- Menu Planning
- Sous Vide
- and more
A successful chef is a thinking chef, and we will expose you to concepts and ideas from the outset that will build your confidence as a chef. We will explore valuable areas such as:
Kitchen Management - it's one thing to cook a dish, but managing a professional kitchen requires specific organisational skills. We will prepare you for that role.
Managing the supply chain - to find the best flavours, you need to source great ingredients. We will show you how to develop a portfolio of food producers and nurture these relationships to give you the best results.
Leadership in the kitchen - a professional bespoke 3 day program on how best to manage and motivate a team in the kitchen.
Business Skills in Catering - specialist business advice looking at the opportunities and pitfalls you can expect when you are responsible for building a profitable enterprise in catering, whether that is running your own restaurant or catering business, or being responsible for a kitchen budget.
Service - to the Total Chef, great food is only part of the equation. We will show you the how to work with and inspire excellent service and what to expect from your relationship with front-of-house.
Wine - we will teach you the skills of wine tasting and food matching so you have a platform from which to develop with confidence.
Food Allergies & Nutrition - a customer with a food intolerance or dietary requirement is just as important as any other. We teach you what you need to know to be prepared for and accommodate a range of dietary requirements.
Life Skills - a career in catering can be a demanding one, requiring long hours and dedication. Very few chefs are equipped with the skills to manage a work-life balance and promising careers can often be lost to 'burn-out'. We will prepare you for the road ahead and give you the tools to maintain control throughout your career.
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.
Occasionally we will arrange to dine as a group in some of the regions most exciting restaurants.
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.
In addition to training of the highest standard, you will also graduate with the following certificates:
The Ashburton Chef Academy
Professional Culinary Diploma
The Ashburton Chefs Academy Professional Culinary Diploma is a valuable record of your graduation from this prestigious course, reflecting a pass, merit or distinction.
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. he qualification will develop culinary skills by working in a kitchen environment which will be enhanced through demonstrations, appropriate theory sessions and visits.
It is worth 96 credits within the governments Qualifications Credit Framework.
Visit the CTH 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.
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.
Visit the CIEH Website
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
Frequently Asked Questions
- How old do I have to be to attend a course?
- What type of people take this course?
- How much is this course?
- How many students do you take on this course?
- How many hours a week will I do?
- Why are the course fees higher than a catering college
- Professional and Career Development Loans
- Do you accept International Students?
- Do I need to have any cookery experience to take the Professional Culinary Diploma?
- I'm a mature student. Will I feel out of place on this course?
- Is travel insurance included in the course fees?
- What happens if I change my mind about the course after enrolling? What is your cancellation policy?
- Do I need a chef uniform or chef equipment?
- What are the career prospects for Professional Culinary Diploma graduates?
- How good a chef will I be at the end of the course?
- You don't have commercial kitchens at the Chefs Academy. Does this matter?
- What are your food sourcing policies at the Academy?
- Why should I chose you over other Culinary Schools?
- How can you take 6 months to achieve the same qualifications that take 9 months elsewhere?
- I'm not from Devon, where will I stay?
- I want to enrol. What are the next steps?
How old do I have to be to attend a course?
The minimum age to join this course is 18 years old.
What type of people take this course?
Our last Diploma course saw age ranges from 21 to 56 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, and ambitious cooks that want to become world-renowned head chefs.
How much is this course?
Click here to see current course fees.
How many students so you take on this course?
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.
How many hours a week will I do?
Our full-time course really is full-time. Academy students receive 34 hours direct tuition a week, Monday to Thursday 9.30 to 4.30 and Friday 9.30 to 3.30.
Why are the course fees higher than a catering college?
The Professional Culinary Diploma is not directly comparable with a course that you will find at a traditional 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.
Professional and Career Development Loans
Professional and Career Development Loans of up to £10,000 are available for this course.
Please visit our page about Career Development Loans for details.
Do you accept International Students?
Yes, we can accept students from any country on the following courses:
Please visit our page for International Students for full details.
Do I need to have any cookery experience to take the Professional Culinary Diploma?
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 at the Ashburton Cookery School to reach the entry level standard for the Professional Culinary Diploma.
I'm a mature student. Will I feel out of place on this course?
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.
Is travel insurance included in the course fees?
Yes, Ashburton Chefs Academy 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Emergency medical and other expenses
Emergency medical, surgical, hospital, ambulance and nursing fees up to £2,000,000.
- Personal Accident
Up to £30,000 for death, loss of limb or sight and permanent total disablement, subject to age.
Accidental loss, theft or damage to baggage of up to £1,000.
- Personal Liability
For any compensation you become legally liable to pay up to £1,000,000.
- 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.
What happens if I change my mind about the course after enrolling? What is your cancellation 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% to 15% (see course fees).
- The balance of payments of course fees are due 6 weeks before the start of the course. (This date is called the Enrolment 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.
Do I need a chef uniform or equipment.
All Chefs Academy students are required to wear a chef uniform when in the kitchen. This consists of chef jacket, chef trousers, non-slip shoes, chef cap. Diploma students receive 3 Academy chef jackets, 2 pairs of chef trousers, and a chef cap included within the fees.
Students are permitted to wear casual clothes for theory sessions, chef demonstrations and field trips. We also provide 3 black Academy branded t-shirts to students.
All chef equipment is provided as part of the course. There is no need to bring your own knives or any other equipment as this is provided.
What are the career prospects for Professional Culinary Diploma graduates?
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.
How good a chef will I be at the end of 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.
You don't have commercial kitchens at the Chefs Academy. Does this matter?
It's not about the oven, it's about quality of cookery training. The training kitchens are bright, spacious and enjoyable to work in and have been designed from the outset to maximse the learning experience. The Ashburton Chefs Academy uses the same facilities as the Ashburton Cookery School which was fitted out using state-of-the-art Siemens domestic equipment. This is the latest equipment that blends domestic with commercial features such as induction cooking, steam ovens and 3D Hot Air ovens. This technology is already in some of the most successful commercial kitchens in the world.
Since every commercial kitchen you enter will have a different range of equipment, the focus is on mastering chef skills and not on a commercial oven brand that you may well never see again in your career. Each student is given their own granite workspace complete with chef equipment, knives and your own direct access to an induction hob, gas hob and oven.
What are your food sourcing policies at the Academy?
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. 95% of our meat and fish is sourced within a 25 mile radius of the academy. 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.
Why should I choose you over other Culinary Schools ?
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.
How can you take 6 months to achieve the same qualifications that take 9 months elsewhere?
Whilst the qualifications on offer between different culinary schools may be the same, the courses will be delivered quite differently. The CTH Level 4 Diploma in Professional Culinary Arts that is incorporated into our Professional Culinary Diploma is a programme of continuous assessment that provides a fixed framework to teach core skills to a high level. Beyond that each culinary school is able to expand their course content to fit.
The Professional Culinary Diploma is designed to achieve the same qualifications in a shorter time period. We maximise the amount of training time in the kitchen by eliminating some of the 'time-eating' tasks, such as washing up, and weighing of ingredients. These tasks can substantially eat into your training time. Because we work at pace in the kitchen we also achieve a lot in the day. The benefit of this approach is that you are also more able to cope under pressure in a commercial kitchen.
I'm not from Devon, where would I stay?
We offer a great accommodation option at a luxury holiday park with fantastic facilities just a short drive from the Academy. Most of our Professional Culinary Diploma students choose this option. We provide a complimentary minibus service between the two sites. Click here for details.
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.
I want to enrol. What are the next steps?
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.
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.
||Restaurant & Cafe Complex
|Horse Riding & Walks
||Fishing Lake, Cycling Paths
- 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
- 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
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.