The Ashburton Chefs Academy has helped launch the careers of
hundreds of aspiring chefs, the future stars of the culinary world. The Diploma
in Culinary Arts is a full-time, inspiring training programme designed to
your career as a professional chef of the highest calibre, ready to meet the demands of
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 16 week 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 Diploma in Culinary Arts 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 cafe, pub, bistro or restaurant;
launching a catering business;
personal development, gap year
Gold Standard Culinary Training
The Ashburton Chefs Academy has been awarded CTH Gold Centre status in recognition of our standards of excellence in training.
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
Our 'Total Chef' training delivers a modern approach to chef development and is unique to
the Ashburton Chefs Academy focusing on three areas of development which we call 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
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.
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:
You will take the industry standard 3 day HABC qualification for head chefs
to ensure you are fully trained in this essential area of catering.
It's one thing to cook a dish, but managing a professional kitchen requires
specific organisational skills. Costings. Profit Margins. 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.
You will learn to develop menus taking into consideration event themes,
styles of service, seasonality, budgets, and special diets.
You will learn to appreciate and identify wine with the WSET Foundation in
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.
Great cooking comes from the heart! Students that are accepted on the
Diploma in Culinary Arts are committed, ambitious and are passionate about
food and cooking. We will focus your passion to enrich and inspire your
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
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.
The Diploma in Culinary Arts incorporates the following certificates and
Ashburton Chefs Academy Diploma in Culinary Arts
The Diploma in Culinary Arts is a record of your training at the highest level,
and is well regarded within the industry. Chef graduates have a strong record of
success and achievement within the industry.
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
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
at various points throughout the course.
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.
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.
Chefs Academy students come from all over the world and can choose our residential options whilst studying
with us, which offers students a comfortable, secure and affordable stay in shared accommodation with fellow
students (see below).
We also maintain a list of local rooms and accommodation providers that can offer local accommodation and are
happy to help place you in suitable accommodation. Please contact us to discuss your
Finlake Student Lodges
For Diploma level students our residential package for Chefs Academy Diploma 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 drive 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
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
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
Restaurant, Cafe and Bar
Horse Riding & Walks
Fishing Lakes & Cycling Path
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
Walking and nature trails
9 hole golf course
TV with selected Freeview channels/DVD
Kitchen including microwave and fridge/freezer
Bath and/or shower
Decking area with patio furniture
Double glazed and heated throughout
Gas and electricity included
Bed linen, duvets & towels
Free Car Parking
Free minibus shuttle to and from Academy
Diploma in Patisserie
Diploma in Culinary Arts
Advanced Diploma (Sep to Apr)
206 Nights Less Nights due to Christmas Break
Finlake Deposit: £250 Required to reserve room and acts as damage deposit. Returned at the end of course upon successful checkout.
Typically 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 45 hours direct tuition a week, Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm.
The Diploma in Culinary Arts 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 45 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.
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 Beginners Cookery Week to reach the entry level standard for the Diploma in Culinary Arts
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.
You should be committed to complete the course prior to enrolling. Demand is high for places on this course and late cancellations 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.
Please note that if you book your course using our Course Finance option, you have a 14 day cooling off period where you may cancel your finance agreement and course. After this period, or if the course starts before this period is over, you will be bound by our Cancellation Policy which is described below.
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 8 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.
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.
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 Diploma in Culinary Arts 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.
Of our most recent graduates 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.
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.
For Diploma level courses you can stay in our shared student accommodation 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 joining 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 Diploma in Culinary Arts 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.