Island students are getting a taste of life in a professional kitchen, thanks to HTP Apprenticeship College.
As the hospitality industry recovers from the effects of the pandemic, a new generation of young chefs could help the sector to recover from the staff shortages of recent years.
“The hospitality and catering sector has undergone massive changes in recent years,” says HTP’s Jon-Paul Charlo. “There are more opportunities now for younger people and you might move a bit faster than a few years ago. Everywhere I go, restaurants are looking for chefs. If you’ve got the work ethic, there are some great chances to get into this industry now.”
Jon-Paul is a Training Consultant at HTP’s Riverbank Campus at Little London in Newport. He has worked in kitchens for all of his adult life, including at Michelin star restaurants in the UK as well as fine dining establishments in Europe. He’s a homegrown Isle of Wight success story, getting inspired to work as a chef by lending a hand in the kitchen at the hotel run by his parents.
“The buzz of being a chef and working in a kitchen is incredible,” Jon-Paul says. “You need the right work ethic but you can learn the skills. I’ve worked in some amazing environments, serving fine food to high-end customers including celebrities. It’s a thrill now to be able to pass on some of my skills and experience to a new generation of budding chefs. Training is a brilliant way to progress in the industry and I’ve watched Apprentices go on to great things, including working with Tom Kerridge at the Hand and Flowers, as well as in some high-end Isle of Wight hotels.”
Jon-Paul and his team teach a wide range of skills, to school leavers and beginners, also helping professional chefs to progress to a higher level.
As well as knife skills, methods of cooking, Food Safety and Health & Safety, Jon Paul’s students learn management techniques, leadership qualities and how to run a professional kitchen.
“Hospitality has always been an important part of the Island’s economy,” Jon-Paul says. “At HTP we help to unlock potential in keen young chefs who are looking to get started in the industry. The best way to decide if that’s for you, or to get a taste of what life is like as chef, is to get into the kitchen! That’s why we’re launching our half-term taster sessions for potential school leavers. They’re free to attend, you’ll get to cook and eat your lunch and a dessert, as well as learn skills from professional chefs.”
Please note: the summer half-term event is now closed.
You can still read more about it here