Curried soup with red lentils, vegetable bean burgers and souffle were all on the menu for a group of young people taking part in this year’s first How To Be A Chef course.
How To Be A Chef is run by Square Food Foundation in partnership with Bristol24/7 as part of our Better Bristol initiative.
Esme, Charlotte, Chloe and Dylan kicked off their first week on the 12-week course in Knowle West with hands-on cooking classes from local chef, restaurateur and Eco Food pioneer Barny Haughton.
We met them as they learnt Barny’s not-so-secret souffle recipe. “This has to be this week’s recipe of the week” says Esme. Esme was not in education or employment when she heard about the course, but knew it was for her because “I know I want to be a cook, I love food”.
As the young people learn and taste the recipes Esme is keen to suggest extra ingredients that could be added, and the others agree. Meanwhile Charlotte explains how she heard about the course through her brother, who she cares for.
“I love all food. Except sardines, or anchovies, or cod” laughs Charlotte as she tucks into her hand-made bean burger. “My brother knew a course about food would be for me!”
Charlotte’s enthusiasm for everything is a contrast to Chloe, who was signposted to the course by Creative Youth Network. “I know I like chicken, but I’m not that good at trying new foods”, she says. “I really want to learn to cook for others”.
Dylan, whose family moved to Bristol from California, is no stranger to cooking, and now wants to turn it into his profession. “My favourite food is Japanese food. When I first moved here I couldn’t find a Japanese restaurant I liked so I started making my own udon noodle soups.”
The young chefs will spend the next 12 weeks learning how to cook in the square food kitchen and taking part in work placements at restaurants across Bristol. They will complete the course with a Level 2 BTec qualification and Level 2 Food and Hygiene certificate.