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Class of 2022 Graduate from the Barchester Chef Academy

Under the watchful eye of Barchester’s Hospitality Development and Standards Manager, Mervyn Knights, 24 talented head chefs – the Class of 2022 – have just completed a year’s training and graduated in the inaugural year of the Barchester Chef Academy.

The Academy is the brainchild of Knights, who joined Barchester 20 years ago as a Kitchen Assistant and worked his way up through the ranks to head chef and then to his current position as part of the team overseeing hospitality training across the whole of Barchester. Along with the rest of the hospitality team, it is Mervyn’s job to ensure that the food being produced in all of Barchester’s 250 care homes and private hospitals for residents and patients meets Barchester’s very high standards in terms of quality, taste, nutrition and presentation, and that dishes are being prepared to the exact requirements of our individual residents.

The Barchester Chef Academy helps chefs to both hone their skills and learn new ones, covering many different modules including cooking for residents living with dementia, budgeting, balancing flavours, minimising wastage, presentation skills and so much more. The 24 chefs who completed this year’s course were full of praise for all they had learned; the chance to perfect new techniques and recipes, share hints and tips, to network and make new contacts and to expand their skill set. These chefs will now act as Ambassadors back in their divisions, helping to train the hospitality teams in their sister homes.

Speaking about the success of the Academy’s first year, Mervyn Knights commented: “I am absolutely delighted at how well the Academy has been received by everyone who attended the course, it has been such a positive experience for all involved. So much so that next year we are going to increase our intake to 34 chefs, I am very much looking forward to meeting the Academy’s new Class of 2023 in January.”

Dr Pete Calveley, CEO of Barchester Healthcare, added:
“I had the pleasure of visiting the Academy and sampling some of the fantastic dishes produced by our chefs. I was impressed by the high standard of cooking and by how beautifully presented everything was. I am incredibly proud of all of the chefs that took part in the Academy this year, I know they produce wonderful food for our residents and patients, cooked to their individual preferences, every single day. I am also exceptionally proud of Mervyn and all that he has achieved with the Academy, it is a brilliant initiative and one that I know will go from strength to strength under his leadership.”