As part of the Best Practice Forum in February, catering lecturers, industry chefs and managers, visited the world-famous Institut Paul Bocuse to view best practice from some of the top professionals in France. A month later, they met up at the Dukes hotel, London, to discuss what they had learnt. Tom Vaughan sat in on the conversation.
Debrah Dhugga To what extent did your experiences at the Institut Paul Bocuse meet your objectives?
Michael Edwards It didn't meet all my objectives. I certainly picked up a few new teaching styles but the Institut is completely different from University College Birmingham. You could see how badly the students wanted to be chefs. It's very different from what we're used to. They're expected to come in with a knowledge of food already. Food in France is a way of life and cheffing is definitely more of a career choice than here.
Michael Coaker You see much more the link between food and culture. Young people tend to be much more knowledgeable about food.
Stefan Greubal And the fees at the Institut would be very painful for a lot of students.
MC Even the way the students eat reflects on the school. And the support the Institut has from the industry is huge. In France, the colleges aren't being nitpicked and undermined by the industry the whole time. There's a lot of talk here about NVQs versus VRQs, but if you want to produce a good chef it's more about their attitude than their qualifications.
|Debrah Dhugga, general manager, Dukes hotel, London David Battersby, managing director, Hospitality and Leisure Manpower Marc Verstringhe, president of the Education and Catering Association Michael Coaker, college lecturer, Thames Valley University Rebecca Dougill, college lecturer, Darlington College Michael Edwards, college lecturer, University College Birmingham Donna Joyce, college lecturer, Darlington College Alexander Kidd, chef, Skibo Castle, Tain Scott Masey, college lecturer, Leeds City College David Patterson, college lecturer, Great Yarmouth College Christian Sandhagen, chef, Royal Veterinary College Ian Wood, chef, Ashbridge House Management, Berkampsted Stefan Greubal, college lecturer, Westminster Kingsway College|