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The Course

Have you always dreamt of being a restaurant owner? A Michelin-starred chef? Do you have the people skills and passion for hospitality to be front-of-house in some of the world's top hotels and restaurants?

The Michael Caines Academy is a unique programme of study that will not only give you the qualifications and practical experience you need but combines it with opportunities and experiences to inspire you to achieve the highest level of excellence.

In years 1 and 2 you will complete the VRQ1 and VRQ2 Diplomas in Professional Cookery, offering you the skills needed to work in the industry, including:

  • Catering operations, costs and menu planning
  • Legislation in the food and beverage industry
  • Preparation and cooking of stocks, soups, sauces, meat and poultry, fish and shellfish, vegetables, hot and cold desserts and fermented dough products.
  • Health and safety awareness
  • Customer service in hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism

After the first two years, you can progress on to an apprenticeship, further study or employment.

Alongside the diplomas, you will have access to an exciting range of masterclasses, experiences, visits and placements to nurture your passion and talent and develop your understanding of the industry. Previous opportunities have included:

  • Demonstrations from guest chefs and organisations including Michael Caines MBE, Mark Dodson, Scott Andrews, Complete Meats, New Zealand Venison, Environmental Health Department
  • External visits to catering producers, factories, hotels and restaurants such as Gidleigh Park, Quickes Traditional Cheese, Ashburton Cookery School, Riverford Farm, Billingsgate Fish Market, Le Manoir Aux Quat Saisons.
  • A siA six-week work experience placement each year – previous placements have included Gidleigh Park, The Ritz Hotel (London), The Goring Hotel, Le Champignon Sauvage (Cheltenham)
  • Work and cook at the South West Festival of Food and Drink – giving live cookery demonstrations, supporting chefs and assisting with service>

What are the entry criteria?

Due to the technical skills required, all students will begin their training at Level 1. The additional experiences undertaken on the course mean that it is a demanding programme, so the entry criteria are higher than the usual VRQ1 and VRQ2 requirements.

You You will need a minimum of 4 GCSEs at grade C or above, including Maths and English. We are looking for people with a passion for hospitality and catering – you may have some work experience in the field or have entered cookery competitions and challenges in the past.

The The Academy is selective - you will be asked to take part in a two-day selection process where we will test your knowledge, passion, teamwork and people skills and your palette! You will also be interviewed by Michael Caines MBE and Exeter College staff.

How will I be graded?

On completion of each year of the Michael Caines Academy, students are awarded a pass, merit or distinction grade, based on achievements over the past academic year.

How do I apply?

You will need to complete the special Michael Caines Academy application form for Exeter College which you can download here.

Still have questions?

Use our contact form to get in touch.