Apprenticeship: Commis Chef Level 2
Employer: The Lost Gardens of Heligan
Aaron had previously worked at the Lost Gardens of Heligan for seven seasons, front of house, before deciding it was time for a new challenge. After asking if he could work back of house more often, Aaron enjoyed getting more involved with the kitchen.
He was lucky to be offered an Apprenticeship position in the kitchen in September 2021, training at Truro and Penwith College. His employer, Nat, saw “real promise” in Aaron, especially after he successfully ran Heligan’s pizza outlet over the summer. Nat became Aaron’s Apprenticeship mentor and said: “Working with Aaron over the past year has been a true pleasure.”
Aaron described his favourite part of his Apprenticeship as; “having the opportunity to do things I wouldn’t normally get to do at work, expanding my knowledge and giving me a chance to meet other likeminded people.
“My managers have been incredibly supportive in work to help give me opportunities to develop as a chef alongside the college course. My lecturer has been fantastic not just as a teacher but a professional from the industry with much more experience than just classroom teaching.”
Aaron describes his favourite things about earning while he learns at the Lost Gardens of Heligan as: “The variety of events we do involving food and the sheer freshness of ingredients we cultivate on site, being able to get hands on with where our food comes from including animals gives a real appreciation of our food.”
Aaron was nominated for Hospitality Apprentice of the Year at the 2022 Cornwall Apprenticeship Awards. When asked why he should win, Nat said: “Aaron should win this award because of his exceptional commitment to the programme, our business and his studies have been exemplary. He is already an amazing young chef, but I believe he will go far.”
Aaron found himself the well-deserving recipient of the Hospitality Apprentice of the Year award, much to the delight of his employers and mentor. Aaron said: “With such strong competitors I never thought I would have won. I am also super proud as it’s a supporting factor to keep pushing my career in the right direction.”
When asked about his plans for the future, Aaron said: “I would like to go on to do a Level 3 Cheffing course and to just keep progressing as a chef and one day run a kitchen of my own.”
Aaron’s advice to any prospective students looking to do an apprenticeship would be that it is; “definitely worth doing it, as the on-the-job training hugely helps with the classroom teaching and makes it feel like you’re learning things for application in the real world.”