Chef Training

Modern Skills for Modern Chefs

11-Week Professional Chef Training Course

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

Winter Session: 20th January –  3rd April 2020, Monday to Friday

This course is for anyone with a passion for food and a desire to work in the industry or start a food business.

8 Great Reasons to Choose School of Food

  1. Best Chefs Tutors in Ireland
  2. Lowest course fees in Ireland
  3. Lowest tutor/student ratio of 8:1 in Ireland
  4. European Union Chef Certification 
  5. Work placement in Michelin Star restaurants
  6. Seed to plate; using our own one-acre vegetable garden
  7. Design, develop, package and sell your own food product 
  8. Graduate by planning, preparing, plating and serving an 8-course Artisan Tasting Menu

Perhaps the single most important factor when you choose a professional chef training course is the experience and quality of the chef tutors. The School of Food believes that your tutors must be passionate, active professional chefs, and the very best tutors in Ireland.

Our training course is designed to provide students with a very low 8:1 student/tutor ratio; much lower than other courses on offer. This course is hands-on, meaning it is primarily practical with essential theory also taught.

In keeping with our industry-focused approach, starting in week six, students spend one day per week in a restaurant or hotel kitchen. The School of Food regularly places students at Campagne and The Lady Helen Mount Juliet; both One Star Michelin restaurants.

From seed to plate, we aim to educate our trainee chefs in every aspect of food production and the culinary arts. The School has a one-acre chemical-free vegetable and herb garden, which supplies our classes with local, seasonal produce to use in our recipes.

Near the end of the programme, students become directly involved with the planning and execution of our Schoolyard Market. You will develop a food product, cost the recipe and decide how best to sell the product at our market. This project requires team-work and a high level of organisation.

The graduation event that concludes the Modern Skills for Modern Chefs training course is a Tasting Menu for 40 guests; which is planned, prepared, plated and served entirely by the students.

The School of Food awards each graduating student with a European Union-recognised certificate (EQF Level 3).

Tuition fees are €5,200 for the full 11-week duration. As the School of Food is a not-for-profit organisation, we can charge substantially less than comparable courses. We consider this chef training course to be the best value in Ireland.

Thomastown is a great place to spend the duration of our Modern Skills for Modern Chefs programme. From homestays to airbnb’s, we can help potential students find accommodation that best suits their lifestyle and budget. A town full of artists, musicians and great pubs, the night life in Thomastown is electric and the small-town-feel makes our trainee chefs – no matter where they’re from – feel at home. We are also located just an hour by train from Kildare, 30 minutes from Waterford and are an easy commute from Tipperary, greater Kilkenny, Carlow and Wexford.

Read more about how Kilkenny City recently won the Best Food Destination 2018.

Course Outline

This hands-on, 11-week chef training course is for anyone with a passion for food and a desire to work in the culinary industry or start a food business. It will take place at the School of Food in Thomastown from 16th September – 29th November 2019, Monday to Friday.

Our programme incorporates the skills required of the modern chef while supplying a well-rounded education; using both traditional and modern techniques. Students will learn to cook a variety of dishes frequently found on today’s restaurant menus. Recipes vary from sous vide lamb to cinnamon sea salt and caramel ice cream – everything we teach is on-trend within the Irish restaurant scene.

Students will partake in our weekly community Fiver Friday Lunch programme from week one. Our Fiver Friday Community Lunches are hallmark events during our professional chef training course. Trainee chefs find this experience extremely valuable, while guests enjoy interacting with the student chefs; often providing helpful feedback.

Along with culinary skills, an element of horticulture will be brought to the module through our school gardens. Students will spend time in the greenhouses, raised beds and plots to learn about how different foods are grown, harvested and preserved.

From Week Six, students will be placed in a professional kitchen for work placement one day of each week. Michelin starred restaurants Mount Juliet, Campagne and renowned restaurant Anocht have all taken past students. This placement gives valuable industry experience and a way to apply your newly acquired skills.

During the course, the students will cook and serve an eight-course tasting menu as well as develop and sell a food product in our Schoolyard Market.

At the School of Food, we know that not every student is meant for a high-end restaurant – there are endless food opportunities out there for any enterprising student. We incorporate product development, food marketing (including blogging and social media management) and menu costing in our 11-Week Modern Skills for Modern Chefs Course to give the students a feel for where in the industry they want to go.

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
  • 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:

  • 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


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, food and wine pairing and perfecting your project for the end-of-term farmer’s market.

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.

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

Our Exceptional Tutors

Janine Kennedy

Janine Kennedy

Janine is a Canadian chef and food writer, currently residing in North Tipperary. She is a graduate of Acadia University and the prestigious George Brown College Chef School in Toronto.

Janine has accrued over ten years of industry experience, mostly as an opening chef for Toronto restaurant giants Oliver and Bonacini.
She is a regular contributor to Irish Country Living and Foodservice and Hospitality Magazine and maintains a well-established food blog.

...more about Janine

Janine Kennedy is a professional chef, writer and communications specialist with over 15 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Originally from Canada, Janine moved to Ireland in 2013. She lives on a dairy farm in Tipperary with her husband and three children.


Bachelor of Arts | 2007 | Acadia University
Culinary Management | 2011 | George Brown College

Professional Experience

Opening Chef Oliver & Bonacini (Toronto, Canada)


  • Auberge du Pommier
  • Luma
  • Bannock
  • O&B Canteen
  • Malaparte
  • Arcadian Court

Marketing Oliver & Bonacini (Toronto, Canada)

  • Talent Management
  • Speech Writing
  • Communications & PR Management
  • Social Media Coordination
  • Corporate Blogging

Author of the blog Cooking with Craic

  • Canadian and Irish Recipes
  • Life on an Irish Farm
  • A Canadian Perspective on Ireland

Executive Chef/Owner The Siùcra Shack (Thurles, Co. Tipperary)

  • Boutique Offsite Catering
  • Farmer’s Markets
  • Pop-Up Restaurants
  • Traveling Spoon
  • Food Tourism
  • Food and Media Management

Head Chef Lisheen Castle (Moyne, Co. Tipperary)

  • Food Tourism
  • Boutique Catering
  • Multi-Course Fine Dining

Columnist & Features Contributor Irish Country Living
European Editor Vacay Network
Features Writer Foodservice and Hospitality Magazine
Delegate Parabere Forum (Improving Gastronomy with Women’s Vision)

Fees Modern skills for Modern Chefs

Tuition for the 11-week Modern skills for modern chef are €5200. Fees include all course material, uniforms, knives and cookery text books.

Click here to apply for Chef Course