The UK’s first plant-based training programme for chefs launches tomorrow

HIT training is partnering with Quorn to set up a plant-based training programme for chefs, a first for the UK’s hospitality sector.

Hospitality and catering training service HIT has teamed up with alt-meat giant Quorn to launch the UK’s first plant-based training programme for chefs.

The eight-month course, which costs £3000, launches with a trends and insight webinar on January 26. It’s available to chefs at all levels and delivered by HIT’s Chef Academy, which was established in 2015. Paul Mannering, the academy’s principal, said it served “as an additional training opportunity for the chef apprentices we work with across the country”.

The launch, which will be hosted by vegan celebrity chef Richard Fox, will feature three cooking masterclasses after Mannering’s talk on the growth of the plant-based movement and will end with a Q&A. These include a Quorn training session with Chantelle Nicholson, chef patron at Tredwells, a Seitan class by HIT Chef Academy’s lead trainer, Rory Mitchell, and a plant-based dessert masterclass with HIT vice-principal Mark Belford.

A study last December suggested that restaurant menus across the UK would see a massive surge of plant-based food, following a shift in dietary choices and focus on health post the pandemic.

“Meat-free and plant-based dishes need to be exciting and full of flavour to capture imaginations,” said Claire Roper, Quorn’s head of marketing and foodservice innovation. “[A] lack of choice and innovative ideas frustrates consumers of plant-based foods when eating out of home.”

The plant-based chef training programme has 11 modules for a Level 2 Certificate, delivered across 11 workshops, two full-day on-site workshops, four face-to-face observations and four remote reviews. It features a module on Quorn, designed to showcase the versatility of its famous mycoprotein-based meat. Other subjects include vegetable proteins, grab-and-go, and bread and dough.

Speaking to The Vegan Review, Mannering said: “HIT Training’s Level 2 Certificate in Plant Forward — Plant-Based Catering has been specially designed to expand a chef’s confidence, knowledge and technical skills when producing and developing plant-based menu items. They’ll learn to change their way of thinking, no longer considering vegetables as a side-dish, but instead an ingredient to be showcased, celebrated, and elevated to be the focal point of a meal.”

He added that chefs will learn to apply traditional culinary techniques, usually reserved for meat and fish, to plant-based ingredients in the training programme. “This practical and engaging plat forward programme will provide specialist culinary learning for professional chefs to cater for the growing demand for vegan, vegetarian and plant-based restaurants, menu items and products.”

Read our report on Quorn’s meat-free partnership with Liverpool FC.

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