Chef Course

Modern Skills for Modern Chefs

Professional Chef Training Programme – 11 Weeks

Autumn Session: 16th September – 29th November 2019, Monday to Friday

Winter Session:  13th January – 27th March, 2020, Monday to Friday

Week One: Welcome Home

Week One Welcome Home

Welcome to the School of Food! This will be your home for the next eleven weeks and we want to make sure you’re feeling comfortable in your surroundings.

During the first week of classes, we will introduce our style of teaching, communications, our community-driven ethos and will also dive right into the kitchen to begin developing your culinary skills.

From day one, you will find yourself in our large, fully-equipped practise kitchen. Starting with knife skills and knife maintenance, you will immediately begin working with different types of vegetables, soups and stocks as well as quick-breads.

You will discover that, at the School of Food, we take the time to taste and share meals together whenever possible.

Our school garden is the backbone of our culinary programme and students will be spending regular time with our head gardener from week one.

Highlights of the week:

  • Introduction to Stocks, Soups and Quickbreads
  • Using Industrial Kitchen Appliances
  • Life in a Professional Kitchen – Roles and Stations
  • Community Lunch Service

Learning Outcomes:

  • Introduction to Professional Kitchen Best Practices
  • Introduction to HACCP
  • Scaling/Reading Recipes
  • Understanding Leavening Agents
  • Soup and Bread-making Methodology
Week Two: All About Brunch

Week Two All About that Brunch

This week, we will take a look at the difference between a food fad and a food trend. Looking at trends in food, we will learn about how to create the perfect brunch menu in its many forms.

From the fluffiest pancakes with maple butter and fruit compote, to the vibrant flavours of a Mexican-inspired huevos rancheros, we will discover what makes brunch so popular and which iconic dishes are deserving of the popularity they enjoy.

Along with learning all about brunch, you will begin your HACCP and Health & Safety Training. You will complete the first of ten theory assessments and the first of four practical assessments.

Highlights of the week:

  • Your First Practical Assessment
  • Bread Class with Hedgehog Bakery
  • Introduction to Classic Pastry
  • Community Lunch Service

Learning Outcomes:

  • Understanding Breakfast Cookery
  • Cooking to a Time Limit
  • Introduction to Yeast/Sourdough Breads
  • Basic Pastry
Week Three: Modern Irish Pub Favourites

Week Three Modern Irish Pub Favourites

When we think about modern Irish cuisine, which ingredients and techniques come to mind? This week we will explore the wide range of flavour profiles, culinary techniques and ingredients used in high-end gastropubs around the country.

We all consider fish and chips to be pub staple; but, made well with the best, freshest ingredients, you will learn how to take a simple Irish favourite and turn it into something extraordinary.

Traditionally very meat-heavy, Irish gastropubs are highlighting more plant-based foods for those following alternatives diets and lifestyles. We will explore the idea of plant-based foods and non-alcoholic beverages like Kombucha and Water Kefir.

Highlights of the week:

  • Fermentation Class with Janine Vine-Chatterton
  • Foraging with Chef Eadaoin
  • Making Modern Pub-Food Special
  • Wood-Fired Pizza Day (Weather-permitting)
  • Community Lunch Service

Learning Outcomes:

  • Fish Butchery/Cookery
  • Types of Salad (Mixed vs. Composed, etc.)
  • Seafood Preparation and Accompanying Sauces
  • The Many Types of Fermentation/Preservation
Week Four: Classic Techniques; Modern Twist

Week Four Classic Techniques Modern Twist

When studying Culinary Arts, classic French techniques is at the core of everything you do. This week, we will explore classic French culinary techniques and apply it to modern dishes.

From a delectable take on coq au vin to modern styles of bar nibbles, this week will be able about perfecting your culinary technique while using your imagination and creativity.

This week you will complete your second practical assessment, continue your training in HACCP and Health & Safety, and enjoy a day off-site learning about cheesemaking.

Highlights of the week:

  • Cheesemaking at Knockdrinna
  • Practical Assessment
  • Unique Bar Snacks
  • Community Lunch Service

Learning Outcomes:

  • Meat Alternatives
  • Completing a Dish
  • HACCP & Cross-Contamination
  • Pickling and Preservation
Week Five: Food, Ethics and Mindfulness

Week Five Food Ethics and Mindfulness

At the School of Food, we feel strongly about food security, supporting local farmers and producers, and using quality, local ingredients in our recipes. This week, we will learn about animal butchery. We will discuss ethics surrounding how animals are raised for consumption and the environmental effects meat has on the world.

We will practise butchery on several animals and use different cuts of meat for different purposes. This week, we will also explore handmade pastas and modern Italian cuisine.

Finally, we will take a class trip to Ballinwillin Farm in Mitchelstown, Co. Cork, to learn more about ethical animal-rearing, industry mindfulness as a regular practise and how these two things are connected.

Highlights of the week:

  • Mindfulness and Meditation Training
  • Ethical Butchery with Clive Clarke
  • Community Lunch Service

Learning Outcomes:

  • Whole-Animal Butchery
  • Mother Sauces, or Base Sauces
  • Fresh Pasta Preparation
Week Six: A World of Flavour at our Fingertips

Week Six A World of Flavour at our Fingertips

Today’s diners are more well-travelled and knowledgeable about ethnic foods than ever before. This week, we will explore ethnic foods around the world and talk about the different ethnic flavour trends we’re experiencing in Ireland.

You will complete your third practical assessment this week and learn how to put together a plate full of many different, but complimentary, flavour components. You will also complete your Manual Handling Certification.

This week you will also begin your weekly work placement in the culinary industry. This will provide valuable experience and insight into where your future in food might lie.

Highlights of the week:

  • Your Introduction to the Culinary Industry (Work Placement)
  • Manual Handling Certification/Practical Assessment
  • Exploring the World Through Food
  • Community Lunch Service

Learning Outcomes:

  • Understanding Chemical Substances (COSHH)
  • Spices and Herbs; Their Culinary Uses
  • High- End Cold-Plate Preparation
  • Valuable Industry Experience
Week Seven: Food as a Lifestyle

Week Seven Food as a Lifestyle

Food trends are studied and analysed for good reason – this research helps chefs and food professionals grow and develop their business and continue to be relevant over time.

This week, we will cook foods to cater to alternative diets. From vegan to allergen-free to cooking with craft beer, we’ll discover foods that taste great, are on-trend and cater to any and all palates.

This week we will also take a more in-depth look at the meaning of Irish terroir – or how our local ingredients affect modern Irish cuisine. By taking time to work in our school gardens, we will better understand the food system as well as the amount of work that goes into food production.

Highlights of the week:

  • How Diet Affects our Lifestyle
  • Field Trip to Ballinwillin Farm and 8 Degrees Brewery
  • Food and Nutrition Training
  • Work Placement

Learning Outcomes:

  • Health & Safety in the Workplace
  • Practical/Ethical Food Production
  • Healthy Eating Guidelines
  • Valuable Industry Experience
Week Eight: The Sweet Life

Week Eight The Sweet Life

It’s common knowledge in our industry that every chef needs a few great dessert recipes hidden up their sleeve – this week, we’ll give you the tools and recipes you need to make high-quality, on-trend desserts that work every time and won’t break the bank.

You will complete your final practical assessment this week. We will continue to develop your food product for your final project and begin planning our multi-course fine-dining event.

Chefs also need to have a working knowledge of social media streams and online marketing – we will spend time discussing why this is important and how to develop a personal brand.

Highlights of the week:

  • High-End, Approachable Pastry Technique
  • Practical Assessment
  • Work Placement
  • Final Community Lunch Service

Learning Outcomes:

  • Classic Patisserie Training
  • Recipe Development/Costing
  • Cake Decorating Technique
  • Valuable Industry Experience
Week Nine: A Feast from the Far East

Week Nine 8-Course Tasting Menu

This week, we will design, prep, cook, plate and serve a seasonal 8-course tasting menu for paying guests.

View our 8-Course Tasting Menu

Thai, Japanese, Korean, Chinese – these are some of the most popular types of ethnic foods in Ireland. This week, you will learn East Asian culinary technique and flavour profiles. Creating the nuanced, balanced flavours of the many types of Asian cuisine takes a different approach to professional cookery.

Tofu and other plant-based proteins also require a different approach. We will create flavourful dishes using non-meat proteins that will please even the most dedicated carnivores among us.

Highlights of the week:

  • Finding the Balance of Far East Flavour
  • Meditation, Mindfulness and Gardening
  • Growing Organic Vegetables and Fruits
  • Work Placement

Learning Outcomes:

  • Understanding Authentic Ethnic Flavours
  • Practical Gardening
  • Making Plant-Based Proteins Taste Amazing
  • Valuable Industry Experience
Week Ten: How Professional Cookery is Different

Week Ten How Professional Cookery is Different

It’s almost time to take what you’ve learned in class and apply it to the industry. This week, we’ll focus on high-end modern Irish cuisine and perfecting your project for the end-of-term farmer’s market, which will take place the coming Sunday.

This week marks the end of your work placement and the beginning of the end of this course. In the classroom, we will discuss best job interview practises, recipe costing and portion control.

Students will be directly involved with the planning and execution of our end-of-term Farmer’s Market. This will require team-work and a high level of organization.

Highlights of the Week:

  • Making Ethnic Foods with Irish Ingredients
  • Planning your Market Project
  • Final Work Placement Day
  • Market Day on Sunday

Learning Outcomes:

  • Understanding the Inner-Workings of a Professional Kitchen
  • Fire Safety in Professional Kitchens
  • Costing, Preparing and Marketing your Final Project
  • Valuable Industry Experience
Week Eleven: A High-End Finish

Week Eleven A Market Fresh Finish

To complete your time at the School of Food, we want to kick up our heels, celebrate how far you’ve come and invite the public to the school as a toast to your great success.

These past eleven weeks you have been cooking up a storm, developing the perfect food product and discovering where your passion for food truly lies. Now is the time to show the world what you can do and what better place to start than at our own School of Food Eight-Course Dinner?

You will prepare, cook and serve this 8-Course Dinner to friends, family and the larger school community.

Highlights of the week:

  • High-End Cuisine and Service
  • Multi-Course Dinner Service
  • Make-Up Practical/Theory Assessment
  • Certificate Ceremony

Learning Outcomes:

  • Showcasing the School and your Personal Achievements
  • Celebrating a Job Well Done
  • Deciding on your next steps as a Commis Chef
  • Taking Pride in Your Work

Certification Information

Successful students will receive a School of Food Professional Certificate.

  • To successfully pass this course, students must be present for at minimum 80% of the total class time.
  • They must achieve an average passing mark of 75% or higher on ten multiple-choice theory assessments.
  • They must achieve a passing mark of 70% or higher on their four practical assessments.
  • They must pass their manual handling practical assessment.
  • They must complete their four work placement days before the end of the course.
  • They must complete their final project and be present on their end-of-course market day.

Successful students will achieve an EQF Level 3 Certification (QQI Level 4 Equivalent) and will be industry-ready for a commis chef role. This School of Food certification is recognized throughout the European Union.

Click here to apply for Chef Course