KSG – Our Food is Our Passion
John Halligan, Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation today launched Chef Start, an initiative from KSG Catering Ltd. and Taste 4 Success Skillnet in liaison with the Department of Social Protection that provides an opportunity for job seekers to enter full time training to become a chef. The first graduates of the Chef Start programme were honoured today as eight class members completed the course with many earning a full time position as commis chefs at KSG Catering.
With a severe shortage of chefs in Ireland, KSG Catering, Ireland’s largest Irish owned food service provider, developed the Chef Start programme as the newest addition of courses in its dedicated KSG Training Academy in Finglas, Dublin. The objective of the course is to offer those on the live register with a keen interest and passion for cooking an opportunity to develop a new career. In turn the programme gives KSG an opportunity to mentor and develop a direct source of new culinary talent needed within the competitive industry.
Twelve applicants were chosen through an interview process with KSG providing the trainees with uniforms, books, utensils and food meaning that the students were faced with no extra costs as they dedicate themselves to the course. Trainees undertake a four-day week split with two days of training and mentoring in the KSG Training Academy and two days on work placement in fast-paced kitchens of designated KSG restaurants. On completion of the course they were awarded with City & Guilds Level 1 certificates today by Minister John Halligan.
Chef, John Relihan attended the ceremony as a special guest having tread a similar path in the lead up to his success. Kerry native Relihan applied to be part of Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Apprentice Programme when he was 17, trained with the top chef and went on to be Oliver’s head chef before returning to Munster to act as Head Chef at his exciting new restaurant, Holy Smoke in Cork City.
Michael Gleeson, Managing Director of KSG Catering said, “I would like to congratulate our first graduates from the Chef Start programme. We place great emphasis on training at KSG as we nurture new talent, developing trainees and providing full time employment in our restaurants. We have pioneered in-house training programmes for a number of years in our state of the art culinary training kitchen and expanded this programme with Chef Start giving a chance to those who may have been out of work for some time but who have a passion and the commitment for cooking to break into this industry. We are delighted to announce that due to the success of the pilot programme we will continue to run Chef Start on a regular basis here at KSG HQ.”
Presenting the certificates to the graduates, Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan, T.D. commented, “The development of the Taste4Success Skillnet Chef Start Job-seekers Support Programme was funded under the Skillnets Future Skills Needs Programme, which supports the creation of new innovative solutions to identified skills needs for priority sectors. It is an excellent example of how Skillnets networks support industry by offering relevant, effective conversion programmes in a timely manner to address skills shortages. In this case, job-seekers received training in chef skills, which has been identified by the Government as a priority area within the hospitality and catering sector, and one which is key for economic growth.”
Sylviana Grad, one of today’s graduates has earned a full time position with KSG Catering in Dublin Airport, Alcock & Brown. As a mother of two she had found herself out of work in 2014. Having worked in the food and hospitality sector she was keen to improve her skills and become a chef.
She said, “I have learned so much at Chef Start. I was keen to develop proper techniques and processes for cooking and was overwhelmed with the support and mentoring I received over the duration of the course. My skills have really improved through the training and real life experience in the KSG restaurants. I am thrilled to have earned a full time job as a chef with KSG.”
KSG’s Culinary Training Academy offers training and development to all levels of ability from catering assistants and kitchen porters with passion and interest through to executive chefs seeking to up skill themselves and explore new techniques in cooking.