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‘Talented’ Suffolk youngsters complete Future Chef cookery course at West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds





A group of budding chefs have graduated from a cookery course that is part of a programme designed to boost new talent in hospitality.

The 12 students, aged 14-16, completed the six-week Future Chef course under the guidance of head chef Stuart Ascot in the professional kitchen at West Suffolk College, in Bury St Edmunds.

The youngsters then showed off their new skills to their loved ones at a celebration event on February 10.

Students prepare the main meal to serve their family and friends
Students prepare the main meal to serve their family and friends
Students serving their family and friends
Students serving their family and friends

The course is part of a wider programme called Choose Hospitality, a partnership between West Suffolk Council and West Suffolk College’s Culinary Arts Academy that is designed to inspire and train a new generation of talent to support local hospitality businesses.

College assistant principal Debbie Coomes said: “We hope that by being involved in this six week project and celebration event that the youngsters will take their passion and talent for cooking and use it in the future in a professional sense and potentially go on and become the next superstar chef like Tom Kerridge or Nadiya Hussain."

In 2023 the students won a competition and earned themselves fully-funded placements on the Future Chef course.

Students working together to add finishing touches to dishes
Students working together to add finishing touches to dishes
A student, Kate Darling, receiving their award from Cllr Indy Wijenayaka, cabinet member for growth at West Suffolk Council, and head chef Stuart Ascot, from West Suffolk College
A student, Kate Darling, receiving their award from Cllr Indy Wijenayaka, cabinet member for growth at West Suffolk Council, and head chef Stuart Ascot, from West Suffolk College

Cllr Indy Wijenayaka, cabinet member for growth at West Suffolk Council, said: “It was wonderful to attend the celebration event and award the talented students their certificates after witnessing their dedication and attention to detail.

“It is great that West Suffolk Council is working in partnership with West Suffolk College to support the Choose Hospitality programme as the opportunity fosters creativity, teamwork, and confidence in children.

“The programme seeks to inspire and equip the next generation of talent to pursue rewarding careers within the hospitality industry, thereby fostering sustainable growth and thriving communities within the district.”

Eastern Education Group, which runs West Suffolk College, has confirmed a £10,000 grant for Choose Hospitality to continue in 2024.