Bringing the gold standard in chef training to Liverpool

ian jaundoo and paul askew

This summer, it was announced that The City of Liverpool College had been chosen as the first provider in the North of England to deliver Royal Academy of Culinary Arts (RACA) Chefs Apprenticeships which are regarded as the gold standard for chef training in Europe.

Delivery leaders Ian Jaundoo, the college’s executive chef, and Paul Askew, chef-patron of Liverpool’s renowned Art School restaurant, spoke to North West Caterer about the scheme . . .

“I have known Paul for many years now and admire and respect his constant striving to put the city on the Michelin map, if anyone can do it will be him and our students and apprentices at the Art School will learn a great deal from his mentoring,” said Ian, who is lead chef tutor for the course.

“We think alike in regards to what we want to instil in our young protégés, whether student, apprentice or commis chef. The RACA course will be based on the traditional skills we both learnt and still refer to with the ‘Escoffier’ school of thought foremost.

Intensive culinary traineeship

“There are 16 places available for 16 to 19 year-olds and all the trainees will receive industry-respected qualifications and sit the RACA final exam on completion of the course. If successful, the chefs will be awarded the coveted Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Diploma and become Graduates of the RACA.

“During the apprenticeship, the young chefs will attend the college each week for a day of formal training, practical work, culinary theory and assessments. The curriculum is cutting-edge and combines culinary traditions with modern developments and provides an unrivalled enrichment programme including demonstrations by leading chefs, “stages” at top restaurants and field trips to food producers.

“The new recruits will undergo an intensive culinary traineeship before they start paid employment in industry, under the guidance of senior chefs, in January 2017. It’s a lot of hard work. But the north will become a leading place for the culinary arts and incredible dining experiences.”

Paul, a fellow of the RACA and current chair for the North, said: “This is quite a coup for The City of Liverpool College. Liverpool is the only city in the north of England to have an accredited RACA college delivering their training and the third in the whole country. Studying at the college will lead to good jobs in great restaurants and to be bestowed with the accolade of delivering RACA training is a very big deal.

We have very talented people

“We’ve been working on this for the last eight years and we want to stop the skills drain, as I call it, where young talented chefs have to leave the North and go and get trained in the South-east.

“It’s very rare they come back to us again because they start to fly in the areas they have been training. So, we needed to break that cycle of losing the young talent of the future and retaining them to work in or open great restaurants of the future in the North.

“I started working in Liverpool in 1995 and remember you could count the number of restaurants on one hand. There was a big void to fill, but of course the economy needed addressing. The Capital of Culture accolade certainly spurred us on, and the Duke of Westminster investment in Liverpool ONE just made the city explode.

“I think there are around 1,500 restaurant in the city now and there is so much choice; if you want to go for a special occasion and treat yourself to a top notch restaurant you can. Liverpool’s culinary scene is driving the standards of quality. There is so much food culture here, from a greasy spoon, to gastro pubs, to incredible ethnic restaurants.

“It is clear we have a very talented people who are excellent chefs. With the RACA scheme we will be able to find them, train them and keep them in this city of other great northern ones and the region”

For more information about the RACA training at The City of Liverpool College visit

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