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Why chefs should think about teaching

By using their excellent transferable skills, chefs can inspire the next generation by becoming food technology teachers.

For many chefs working in hospitality the easing of restrictions means getting back in the kitchen, creating new menus and firing up the burners.  There’s an excitement in welcoming customers back and preparing great food for them.

The long break has given many hospitality people an opportunity to think about their career and potential next steps.  Some will be striving for progression and development, whilst others may be considering a career break or change.  Hospitality skills are unquestionably transferable and for those thinking about a shift or new role, now could be the time to try something different.  One route available to chefs is teaching food technology and cookery in schools.

Tom Aikens

Michelin starred chef Tom Aikens is passionate about developing the next generation of entry level talent.  “The reason chefs might consider switching over to teaching is that they have a better understanding and knowledge of cooking and running a business which can be passed onto the students. Chefs that have worked in the sector also have access to all the most up to date cooking techniques, methods and trends that are being developed. These knowledge and skill can only benefit the next generation of chefs that are coming through.”

Currently over 200 vacancies for Food Technology teachers

Nicola Knott is an in-house recruiter who was furloughed in March. Nicola was keen to volunteer and through Furlonteer was matched with the Food Teachers Centre.

Nicola has been working on a campaign to raise awareness of teaching food technology and cookery in schools as a career choice.  The campaign is aimed at those working in hospitality and recognises the value of the transferable skills chefs can bring to the classroom.

Nicola commented, “There are currently over 200 vacancies for Food Technology teachers in the UK, and in many schools the subject is being taught by substitutes with no in-depth knowledge.  As a subject, cookery and food tech is under threat.  Without food technology in schools, where will the next generation of chefs come from?”

This is something the hospitality sector has known for some time.  The industry has been working hard to create partnerships with local schools and colleges, raising awareness of hospitality as a first-choice career. But is part of the solution to this problem also a solution for those chefs who have unfortunately faced job loss due to Covid19?

Multiple routes into teaching

Louise Davies is the Founder of the Food Teachers Centre “There are many routes into teaching and despite what you might think, it isn’t always necessary to have a degree.” Louise continued, “Skills-based training and learning on the job are two options and bursaries, starting at £15k p.a. are available.  Salaries are commensurate with the hospitality sector and there are also lifestyle and job-related benefits to consider.”

Sharing a passion for food and technical skills

Those who work in hospitality know that the sector provides opportunities to learn a diverse range of skills. Anyone who has worked in a kitchen knows just how complex the job is, involving everything from maths to languages, not to mention the people skills needed to work in a high pressure, busy kitchen environment.

 Louise continued, ““Chefs have a passion for food and the skills and knowledge of ingredients and nutrition.  They have that understanding and the ability to work with people.  Teaching is all about sharing your enthusiasm with young people and engaging them in the topic.”

People with those great transferable skill sets are who this campaign is aimed at.  Helping to train apprentices in the kitchen can translate easily into helping young people in schools to learn to cook.”

Pivoting into teaching

The Food Teachers Centre is a great source of information for anyone interested in teaching food technology or cookery in schools. It can be daunting to consider a whole new career but the team at the Centre are knowledgeable and can walk you through the options and answer any questions.

Engaging with hospitality businesses who may have to let people go is one way that the Food Teachers Centre plans to reach out with this unique opportunity.  Louise commented “Teaching is a really good way of giving back to the community and children. It’s a way to pass on sector-specific information and build the food professionals of the future.  It’s also a very rewarding and fun subject to teach.”

To find out more about how your transferable skills could become teaching skills visit:

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