Taste 4 Success 8-Week Commis Chef Training Programme

Commis Chef Training Course

Taste 4 Success Skillnet, in conjunction with the School of Food, is offering a fully-funded, 8-week Modern Skills for Modern Chefs training course for those who meet the eligibility criteria. All uniforms and class materials are included (local accommodation available but the cost is not covered).

Start Date: 30th September, 2019 (finishes 22nd November, 2019).

School of Food Logo SmallTaste4Success Skillnet Logo

When: 30th September – 22nd November, 2019
What: Practical culinary skills with essential theory/health and safety training
Where: School of Food, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny
How: 5 days of on-site training per week (9:30am – 4:30pm)

Are you the right fit for Modern Skills for Modern Chefs?

  • Do you have an interest in food and cooking?
  • Do you have a genuine desire to work in the Hospitality Industry?
  • Do you have the determination to commit to the course’s time frame?
  • Are you an enthusiastic self-starter?
  • Are you a team player?
To view eligibility criteria please click here

To be eligible to participate in this unique experience, you must be currently on the live register and meet Job Seeker Support Programme (JSSP) criteria. You should also be available for the full duration of the programme. Programmes in excess of 20 days training/work experience require welfare recipients to seek prior approval from their Local Social Welfare Office so that the benefit payment is not affected.

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.

Watch the video above to hear Taste 4 Success/School of Food Alumnus Joanne Leahy discuss some of her favourite aspects of the programme.

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/certification.

Students will learn to cook a variety of modern and traditional dishes frequently found on today’s restaurant menus. Studied recipes include sous-vide pork belly, tres leches cake, mezze platters with tabbouleh and hummus, raw milk ricotta, sourdough bread and white chocolate and pistachio profiteroles. Students will also spend time on our one-acre organic vegetable garden, where they will learn under the tutelage of our head gardener.

For additional industry experience, students will partake in a weekly community lunch service and an off-site work placement with one of our industry partners. Our lunches are hugely popular and give each student a chance to gain valuable, well-rounded experience in high-quality hospitality.

No experience is necessary – just a passion for food and a desire to work in the culinary industry. An EQF Level Three (recognized throughout the European Union) certification will be presented to successful students on completion of the course.

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 eight weeks and we want to make sure you’re feeling comfortable in your surroundings.

On day one, we will have a short orientation where we explain the course outline, hand out uniforms and materials and get to know one another. 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 the start, 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.

Together we will plan our Fiver Friday community lunch, which we will be serving for six weeks.

Highlights of the week:

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

Learning Outcomes:

  • Introduction to HACCP
  • Scaling/Reading Recipes
  • Understanding Leavening Agents
  • Soup and Bread-making Methodology
Week Two: All About 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 breakfast or 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 continue your HACCP and Health & Safety Training. You will complete your first theory assessment and the first of four practical assessments.

Highlights of the week:

  • Your First Practical Assessment (Breakfast Cookery)
  • Breakfast and Brunch Trends
  • Introduction to Classic Pastry
  • 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
  • Making Modern Pub-Food Special
  • Wood-Fired Pizza Day (Weather-permitting)
  • 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 preparations 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 learn about cheesemaking.

Highlights of the week:

  • Practical Assessment (Main Course)
  • Main Course Cookery
  • Unique Bar Snacks
  • 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. We will work with different cuts of meat and steak with complementary sauces, as well as learning about the six Mother Sauces.

Finally, we will take a class trip 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
  • Food and Craft Beer Pairing
  • Ethical Butchery
  • Community Lunch

Learning Outcomes:

  • Whole-Animal Butchery
  • Mother Sauces, or Base Sauces
  • Protein 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 foods and flavours from around the world and talk about the different world 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:

  • Global Flavour Profiles
  • Manual Handling Certification/Practical Assessment (Cold Plates)
  • Travelling the World Through Food
  • Community Lunch

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
  • Plant-Based Alternatives to Meat
  • “Healthy” Fast Food

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 plan our certificate ceremony event, which will take place on Friday.

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
  • Celebratory Lunch
  • Certificate Ceremony

Learning Outcomes:

  • Classic Patisserie Training
  • Recipe Development/Costing
  • Cake Decorating Technique

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 four work (25 hours) 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



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

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)