Introductory Commis Chef Training Programme

The School of Food in association with Taste 4 Success Skillnet is delighted to announce a new Commis Chef Certificate Training course, ‘Modern Skills for Modern Chefs’.

School of Food Logo SmallTaste4Success Skillnet Logo

Starting the 14th January 2019 this hands on 11-week course will take place at the School of Food, Thomastown from Monday to Friday, full-time. From week 7, students will work one day a week in a leading hotel/restaurant.

There are no fees for applicants who meet the Job Seekers Eligibility Criteria.

To view eligibility criteria please click here

Eligibility Criteria to Qualify as a Job Seeker (NB anyone on a current CE or TUS Scheme is not eligible):

Eligible Individuals who are Welfare Payment Recipients

  • Jobseeker Allowance
  • Job Seeker Benefit
  • Disability Allowance
  • Blind Pension
  • Invalidity Pension
  • Illness Benefit
  • Supplementary Welfare Allowance
  • Adult Dependants
  • One Parent Family Payment
  • Back-to-Work Allowance
  • Back-to-Work Enterprise Allowance
  • Short-term Enterprise Allowance
  • Farm Assist
  • Rural Social Scheme

Eligible Individuals who are not Welfare Payment Recipients

  • Former sole traders and business owners
  • Recent graduates who are unemployed
  • Homemakers
  • Retirees seeking to return to the workplace
  • Individuals who fail to qualify for social welfare payments because of a spouse’s income
  • Individuals signing on for credits but in receipt of no social welfare payment
  • Individuals who have recently accepted redundancy payments
  • Non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationals holding immigration Stamp.

This unique cookery course incorporates all the skills and techniques required of the Modern Commis Chef. It is centered on practical cooking, and includes essential Health and Safety training.

Students will learn to cook a variety of modern and traditional dishes, frequently found on today’s restaurant menus. For example, recipes include spanakopita, risotto with salmon lemon and dill, slow roast pork belly with spiced red cabbage, smoked trout and quinoa salad, Cointreau & orange panna cotta alongside the more familiar roast beef and shepherd’s pie.

No experience necessary, except a passion for food and a desire to work in the industry. A QQI equivalent level 4 certificate will be issued to students.

Click here to read about our students experiences

When I decided to do the Modern Skills for Modern Chefs Course, I wasn’t 100% sure what I would be using it for! I knew I wanted to start a business with my wife in the food and drink sector, but was unsure what direction to head in. I found this course really helped me focus on what my strengths are and also gave me a real insight into what is a good area to go into within the hospitality sector.

As the weeks progressed, my confidence grew in the kitchen until I was happily creating three-course menus from start to finish using all the latest skills and trends. The course gave me an excellent introduction to a commercial kitchen environment and all of the necessary skills to enter straight into the workforce.

Although it’s never easy getting a new business up and running, my course tutors, Janine and Dermot, are a wealth of up-to-date knowledge and have been extremely supportive of our business endeavour.

The School of Food’s Open Day was a perfect arena for testing our product and market research, and we have met an extensive network of people that have been extremely helpful in getting our business off the ground. I would have no hesitation in recommending this course to anyone who wants to either enter the hospitality industry as a chef, or, like us, wants to start their own business in the food or drink industry.

We are really looking forward to sampling what will be available at the next open day from the latest class of students!

James Vine-Chatterton, Ludlow & Vine

I thoroughly enjoyed the course, and looked forward to going in every single day. The excellent tutors covered so many aspects of culinary skills. We were challenged to be creative, and to work as part of a team. Each of us was asked to develop a product, and this turned out to be both challenging and inspiring. As I write this, I am preparing pies for a local market! I would highly recommend this course to anyone interested in the food industry.

Marian Kehoe, Class of May 2018

I really enjoyed the School of Food as it was a very professional but relaxed approach to learning about cooking. Two excellent tutors who have a very well balanced knowledge on both the practical and theoretical aspects of food. The kitchens are top notch and a stunning garden located at the school provides students with an abundance of fresh, organic herbs and vegetables. The Course is excellent for any home cook or professional who wants to up skill. The course was 11 weeks and in that time you study and cook through a range of cuisines and use completely new methods every week. It has enabled me to further my studies in this level college and cemented the fact that I now want to stay in the cooking industry for life!

Dom Doody, Class of May 2018

This course has given me the confidence to go out into the food industry. If you have any kind of natural ability, the tutors will definitely bring it out in you.

Shane O’Donnell, Class of May 2018

Other courses are so long; they take a big chunk out of your year. This course? It’s 11 weeks. That’s so handy. It’s great to learn that, from basic ingredients, you can make really nice food.

Becky Drohan, Class of May 2018

Please click the button below to view/print/download application form for the course. You can then send it to us, using details on our contact page.

Introductory Commis Chef Training Programme Application Form

Course Outline

Week One: Welcome Home

ICCTP 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.

By electing our two executive chefs for the week, we will be able to plan for our first community lunch, which we serve every week.

Highlights of the week:

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

Learning Outcomes:

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

ICCTP 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.

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, who your main customer demographic will be 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 (Mags Morrissey)
  • Introduction to Classic Pastry
  • Friday Community Lunch

Learning Outcomes:

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

ICCTP 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
  • Making Modern Pub-Food Special
  • Wood-Fired Pizza Day (Weather-permitting)
  • Friday Community Lunch

Learning Outcomes:

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

ICCTP Classic Technique Modern Twist

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

From moist, delectable Chicken Kiev 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
  • Friday Community Lunch

Learning Outcomes:

  • Meat Alternatives
  • Completing a Dish
  • HACCP & Cross-Contamination
  • Introduction to Cheese-Making
Week Five: Food, Ethics and Mindfulness

ICCTP Food Ethics 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 affects 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 Food with Pat Mulcahy
  • Food and Craft Beer Pairing with Caroline Hennessy
  • Ethical Butchery with Clive Clarke
  • Friday Community Lunch

Learning Outcomes:

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

ICCTP 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
  • Travelling the World Through Food

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

ICCTP 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.

Highlights of the week:

  • How Diet Affects our Lifestyle
  • Food and Nutrition Training
  • Work Placement

Learning Outcomes:

  • Health & Safety in the Workplace
  • Large-Scale Food Production
  • Healthy Eating Guidelines
  • Valuable Industry Experience
Week Eight: The Sweet Life

ICCTP 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

Learning Outcomes:

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

ICCTP Feast from the Far East

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.

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

Highlights of the week:

  • Finding the Balance of Far East Flavour
  • Work Placement

Learning Outcomes:

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

ICCTP 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 marks the end of your work placement and the beginning of the end of this course. In the classroom, we will discuss the steps needed to start your own business, find a great restaurant position, give a killer job interview and look into loans and funding through various Irish organizations.

Highlights of the Week:

  • Wine Tasting Class with Mary
  • Making Ethnic Foods with Irish Ingredients
  • Planning the Farmer’s Market
  • Work Placement

Learning Outcomes:

  • Understanding the Inner-Workings of a Professional Kitchen
  • Fire Safety in Professional Kitchens
  • Food and Wine Pairing
  • Valuable Industry Experience
Week Eleven: A Market-Fresh Finish

ICCTP 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 Farmer’s Market?

You will present your final project – your completed food product – for friends, family and the larger school community to enjoy.

Highlights of the week:

  • Presenting Your Final Project
  • Experiencing a Community Market
  • Make-Up Practical/Theory Assessment
  • Certificate Ceremony

Learning Outcomes:

  • Understanding the Value of Market Research
  • Starting Your Own Small Food Business
  • Cost-Control in its Many Forms
  • Taking Pride in Your Work

Accreditation Information

Successful students will achieve a QQI Level 4.5 Equivalent and will be industry-ready for a commis chef role. This School of Food certification is recognized throughout the European Union.

  • 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 five work placement days before the end of the course.
  • They must complete their final project and be present on their end-of-term market day.

Our Exceptional Tutors

Dermot Gannon

Dermot Gannon

Dermot boasts 44 awards, on average four every year, since 2007.

His awards include The Irish Association best chef in Tipperary, Food and Wine Magazine best Chef in Munster, Georgina Campbell hideaway of the year and is in the top 100 best restaurants in Ireland in The Bridgestone guide.

Please see attached list of specific awards.

The Old Convent Culinary Awards


  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland 2007
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Eat in Ireland 2007
  • Georgina Campbell Guide Best Breakfast 2007


  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland 2008
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Eat in Ireland 2008


  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland 2009
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Eat in Ireland 2009


  • Georgina Campbell Guides Hideaway of the Year 2010
  • Good Food Ireland Top Regional Member 2010
  • Good Food Ireland Top Overall member 2010
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland 2010
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Eat in Ireland 2010


  • Irish Restaurant Awards, Tipperary Best Restaurant – The Old Convent
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland 2011
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Eat in Ireland 2011


  • Irish Restaurant Awards, Tipperary Best Hotel Restaurant – The Old Convent
  • Irish Restaurant Awards, Tipperary Best Chef – Dermot Gannon – The Old Convent
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland 2012
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Eat in Ireland 2012


  • Irish Restaurant Awards, Tipperary Best Hotel Restaurant – The Old Convent
  • Irish Restaurant Awards, Tipperary Best Chef – Dermot Gannon – The Old Convent
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland 2013
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Eat in Ireland 2013


  • Irish Restaurant Awards, Tipperary Best Restaurant – The Old Convent
  • Irish Restaurant Awards, Tipperary Best Chef – Dermot Gannon – The Old Convent
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland 2014
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Eat in Ireland 2014


  • Food and Wine Magazine Chef of the Year Award, Munster, Dermot Gannon 2015
  • Irish Restaurant Awards, Tipperary Best Hotel Restaurant – The Chapel Dining Room at The Old Convent
  • Irish Restaurant Awards, Tipperary Best Chef – Dermot Gannon – The Chapel Dining Room at The Old Convent
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland 2015
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Eat in Ireland 2015


  • Irish Restaurant Awards, Tipperary Best Hotel Restaurant – The Old Convent
  • Irish Restaurant Awards, Tipperary Best Chef – Dermot Gannon – The Old Convent
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland 2016
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Eat in Ireland 2016


  • Irish Restaurant Awards, Tipperary Best Restaurant – The Old Convent
  • Irish Restaurant Awards, Tipperary Best Chef – Dermot Gannon – The Old Convent
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland 2017
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Eat in Ireland 2017


  • Irish Restaurant Awards, Tipperary Best Restaurant – The Old Convent
  • Irish Restaurant Awards, Tipperary Best Restaurant Manager – Christine Gannon of The Old Convent
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland 2018
  • The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Eat in Ireland 2018

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)

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