Back in November we launched our Butcombe Futures academy, taking a number of apprentices under our wing and helping them to complete either the Commis Chef Apprenticeship Standard or the Hospitality Supervisor Apprenticeship Standard alongside a multitude of other qualifications like first aid, stocktaking and health and safety. Based across the managed pubs in our estate they have all come on leaps and bounds since their initial start and we’re excited to share what they’ve been up to.
Over the last few months, our apprentices have been working hard on their NVQ level 2 coursework as well as travelling the South West on a series of workshops and supplier visits. Following on from an initial game workshop they’ve visited Kingfisher in Brixham where they went on an insightful tour around the premises learning about the struggles and pressures that our UK fishermen go through to get quality fresh fish to our kitchens. It really highlighted the importance of supporting sustainable sourcing – we have since heavily reduced salmon from our menus, offering the wonderful Chalk Stream Trout in its place.
The apprentices have also enjoyed a tour around some of the farms where our beef and lamb are sourced from and a butchery demonstration from the Head Butcher at Ruby & White highlighting the different cuts that can be used. One of the main aims in our kitchens is to reduce waste, and what better way to do that than by using as much of the animal as we can!
And finally, in July they went on down to Arthur David Warren’s farm in the Cheddar Valley to see where our strawberries are grown and to find out more about the cultivation and farming of a range of other produce.
Of course, they’ve also been learning and honing their skills along the way – from baking fresh bread from scratch, to preparing and serving fish and seafood dishes like potted shrimp and moules mariniere. Next on the agenda is a chocolate demo with the team from La Chasse (look out for photos of this on our Butcombe Table Instagram account!) and a vegetable and protein workshop.
We couldn’t be prouder of all our apprentices’ progress and we can’t wait to see them as fully-fledged Commis Chefs and Managers in the months and years to come! We’ve managed to squeeze an interview with Sarah, one of our aspiring chef apprentices so you can find out what makes her tick and what she loves most about working in the kitchen.
Here’s Sarah from The Swan in Winscombe.
- How long have you worked for Butcombe and The Swan? I have been with Butcombe for just over a year now.
- Who/What first got you into cooking? My nan got me into cooking from early on as she used to cook with me when I was younger.
- What’s your favourite ingredient to cook with? I do not really have a favourite ingredient as I love to experiment with all types.
- Favourite dish to cook at home and at the pub? My favourite dish to cook at home is cottage pie.
- Favourite thing on the pub menu? My favourite dish on the menu is the Dingley Dell pork rib eye with greens and black pudding mash.
- Favourite Butcombe Beer? My favourite Butcombe beer would have to be Butcombe Original.
- Where do you see yourself in five years? In 5 years’ time I want to continue to improve my knowledge I would also like to be running a kitchen.
- What is your favourite/best cooking achievement so far? My best cooking achievement is making risotto and having great feedback from the customers and the best thing I have achieved is running the kitchen whilst the chef was away and service going very smoothly!
- What do you do on a day off? On my days off I like to catch up with friends and family.
- Tell us something most people won’t know about you. I originally studied child care, but my love of cooking seems destined to keep me in this career.
If you would like to be a part of our Butcombe Chef Academy, do get in touch! We will be taking in applications for the next round of recruits very soon!