Culinary Students Sizzle in the Kitchen this Summer

August 2014

Dedicated culinary arts students are swapping the beach for the heat of the kitchen as they prepare for their new degrees during the summer holidays.

The undergraduates are taking part in a five-week culinary bridging course, which includes both practical sessions and theory-based teaching and is delivered by UCB chef lecturers at the Summer Row campus.

The comprehensive A-Z of cookery is designed for Culinary Arts Management BA (Hons) and foundation degree students who lack previous culinary arts qualifications or experience.

As an inclusive institution, UCB takes students from both industrial and academic backgrounds. The summer bridging course is designed to give students with A-levels or similar qualifications a broad introduction to the kitchen skills they will be expected to use, and master, during their three to four-year course. They also receive tuition in cookery principals and theory, food hygiene, food storage and kitchen health and safety.

This year, 21 students are attending the University’s culinary summer school. Each day starts promptly at 8.30am with the mornings earmarked for practical kitchen sessions. The students are shown how to prepare a dish that incorporates a key technique, such as roasting, grilling or boiling. A dish of tandoori chicken, mango salsa and rice was chosen to demonstrate the practice of grilling (for the chicken), braising (rice) and brunoise, a precision cutting technique that produces finely diced cubes (salsa).

Culinary arts year manager and chef lecturer Lewis Walker says: “The bridging course is a good introduction to life at the University and demonstrates the commitment and skills required throughout the course. Most of the students stay at The Maltings halls of residence during the summer and it’s a great opportunity to make friends.

“The course is designed to ensure the students are well integrated and comfortable when the degree begins in September. They get to know their way around the kitchen and develop valuable practical skills and theory.”

Once they complete the course, the bridging students receive a VRQ certificate in Introduction to Culinary Skills.

The Culinary Arts Management degree, which includes a one-year work placement, opens up varied career paths in high-level chef positions, product development, corporate and independent hotels, catering management, contract catering, food publishing and niche businesses such as specialist chocolate-making.

Abbie Fenn, 19, who was educated at a grammar school in Plymouth, says she chose to study at UCB – and join the bridging course – because she was impressed with the University’s superior facilities and the knowledge of lecturers.

Last year, Abbie got an A in A-level geography, an A for her Extended Project Qualification, in which she produced a cookery book, and a Certificate of Personal Effectiveness. She is awaiting the results of two further A-levels in business and home economics.

She says: “I want to stay at UCB for four years and then travel for a year to get experience. My plan is to work my way up to a head chef’s position and eventually go into management.

“I have always wanted to do something in food. I am studying the cookery side first so when I go into management I have the knowledge to support it.”