BaxterStorey initiates first intake of RACA apprentices

As a testament to its dedication to nurturing talent within the industry, foodservice provider BaxterStorey has welcomed its first cohort of apprentices from the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts (RACA).

This initiative underscores BaxterStorey's commitment to empowering young individuals and fostering their growth within the sector.

The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts (RACA) offers a comprehensive three-year chef apprenticeship program conducted in collaboration with educational institutions like Bournemouth and Poole College. Throughout the duration of the apprenticeship, individuals will alternate between spending several months at college and gaining practical experience at various BaxterStorey client locations. This structured approach over three years aims to equip apprentices with a skillset equivalent to that of a chef de partie.

Three apprentices have recently joined BaxterStorey, with placements at different locations including PwC in London.

The apprentices will have the opportunity to work closely with seasoned chef mentors Scott Dineen, Chris Jarman, and Chris Terry at their respective locations. These mentors will provide guidance and exposure to various aspects of kitchen operations, spanning from high-end hospitality to retail environments. Additionally, they will receive support from Andrew Aston, a RACA academician, who will serve as an overarching mentor. Alongside Andrew, they will be supported by Luke Smith, BaxterStorey's London regional culinary lead and a former RACA specialist chef, as well as Nikki Woods, BaxterStorey account director and fellow RACA academician.

The apprentices comprise Jude, aged 19, who embarked on his hospitality journey at Wetherspoons before pursuing the RACA apprentice scheme. Additionally, Louis, aged 17, and Megan, aged 16, both followed their passion for cooking by applying for the apprenticeship directly after completing their schooling.

Megan said: 'The apprenticeship programme is brilliant for my career. Having the opportunity to learn across so many departments is going to be a great way for me to increase my skills and my confidence in the kitchen.'

Jude added: 'Having access to so many experienced chefs is amazing. The mentorship I'm being offered through my apprenticeship will be a massive support.'

Upon completion of the apprenticeship program, the apprentices will undergo the RACA graduation exam. Successful completion of this exam will enable them to attain the prestigious RACA chef diploma.

The three apprentices have seamlessly integrated into BaxterStorey as valuable team members, and their careers will persist within the company upon receiving their diplomas. Looking ahead, BaxterStorey aims to further its commitment to nurturing talent by taking on six additional apprentices in 2025 within the hospitality sector.

Andrew Aston, head of wellness and nutrition at BaxterStorey, said: 'The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Apprenticeship has been running for many years and some great chefs have come through the programme, including Luke Smith and Sam Potter from our London chef team, and Steve Wilson who is based at Winchester Cathedral.

'I absolutely loved working with specialist chef apprentices when I ran kitchens, they bring a fantastic energy to the kitchen and allow you to pass on knowledge as you guide them through their early years of working in professional kitchens.'

Lisa Jenkins, CEO of RACA, added: 'BaxterStorey has always shown a strong commitment to investing in young people and this partnership will help continue to develop our stars of the future.'