Ashdown Park Hotel champions careers in the kitchen

UK: Part of the hotel group, Elite Hotels, Ashdown Park Hotel & Country Club in East Sussex is offering training and development opportunities for aspirational chefs.

The hotel has developed a pipeline of talent that starts with work experience from the age of 14 and 15, and continues through apprenticeships and internal training.

Andrew Wilson, executive head chef at Ashdown Park, said: “Being a chef is not an easy career, but it’s one that can be incredibly rewarding if you have the passion and are willing to put in the hard work to progress. One of the issues that the chef shortage has created is a skills gap where people are promoted prematurely or offered positions they aren’t ready for”.

“At Ashdown Park, we’re working to combat that by offering structured training and development opportunities for chefs at all levels, which results in a strong and highly skilled team, and ultimately the best possible experience for guests dining in the hotel,” continued Wilson.

One of the hotel’s current apprentice chefs, William Blake, first took part in a work experience placement in 2018, before returning this year to complete a commis chef apprenticeship in partnership with Umbrella Training.

Two-and-a-half months into his placement, Blake said: “I’ve wanted to be a chef since I started secondary school, and was attracted to the apprenticeship because I’m not a lover of the classroom setting and wanted more of a hands-on role. I also liked the idea of earning while I learned”.

Similarly, Adam Paice joined the team in 2017 as commis chef, and has quickly progressed through the ranks of demi chef de partie and chef de partie, before being promoted to junior sous chef in August this year.

“Now that I’m at the point where I have the freedom to create my own menus and come up with new ideas, which I love, and eventually I hope to become a head chef and run my own restaurant,” commented Paice.

Ashdown Park Hotel & Country Club is one-of-four Elite Hotels, which comprises Tylney Hall Hotel & Gardens in Hampshire, The Grand Hotel in Eastbourne, and Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf & Spa in Bedfordshire.

Each of the four hotels is a member of Small Luxury Hotels – a consortium representing over 500 independent hotels in 70 countries.

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