Professional Cookery – Michael Caines Academy

The Michael Caines Academy combines practical, professional catering and hospitality qualifications, with a range of visits, experiences, work placements and demonstrations involving the region’s most renowned food experts.

Course Information

  • Course Type School Leaver
  • Subject Area Hospitality and Catering
  • Qualification VRQ1 Diploma
  • Study Mode: Full Time Only
  • Course Level Level 1
  • Location Hele Road Centre
  • Course Length 1 year

Inspired by our illustrious alumnus Michael Caines MBE, Exeter College has launched the Michael Caines Academy with the aim of nurturing the region’s future generation of talented restaurateurs, chefs, restaurant managers, waiters and front of house staff. This is a fantastic opportunity for young people seeking a career in hospitality at whatever level. It is more than just a course – with Michael directly involved, there will be high profile experiences, challenging practical and theoretical workshops and master classes from the very best in industry.

This course teaches you a variety of catering craft skills to a high standard. Practical work features strongly, supported by cookery theory, hospitality based assignments and question papers. You will work towards a VRQ1 Certificate in Food and Beverage Service and a Diploma in Professional Cookery within the realistic working environments of the @thirty-four restaurant and kitchens. Your learning will be supplemented by an array of Farm to Fork/Vine to Glass Experiences, guest chef appearances, workshops, visits, placements and much more!

This course is ideal if you are looking to undertake high quality, industry standard training and have a real passion for cooking and the industry. It is ideal if you have the goal of becoming a professional chef and perhaps owning your own restaurant in the future.

The programme consists of a variety of experiences ranging from placements, visits, guest speakers, guest chefs and industry professionals. The qualification will challenge you practically and theoretically – regularly assessed with graded outcomes (pass, credit, distinction) The VRQ diplomas will aid your progression on to higher level programmes, Apprenticeships or into employment.

What topics will I study? 

  • Introduction to the catering and hospitality industry
  • Food Safety in Catering
  • Health and Safety awareness for catering and hospitality
  • Introduction to healthier foods and special diets
  • Introduction to kitchen equipment
  • Introduction to personal workplace skills
  • Prepare and cook food by boiling, poaching and steaming
  • Prepare and cook food by stewing and braising
  • Prepare and cook food by baking, roasting and grilling
  • Prepare and cook food by deep frying and shallow frying
  • Regeneration of pre-prepared foods
  • Cold food preparation
  • Legislation in food and beverage service
  • Understanding menus
  • Introduction to personal workplace skills
  • Dealing with payments and bookings
  • Food and beverage service skills
  • Bar Skills
  • Hot beverage skills

You will:

  • Develop your catering craft skills to an exceptional standard
  • Experience visits, speakers, ‘farm to fork’ and ‘vine to glass’ sessions
  • Enjoy challenging practical and theoretical workshops
  • Attend masterclasses from industry leaders such as Michael Caines
  • Study for a Certificate in Food and Beverage Service and a Diploma in Professional Cookery
  • Work within the superbly equipped @thirty-four restaurant and kitchens
  • Attend a period of work placement

This course is studied on its own and cannot be combined with other courses.

Next steps: You could progress to the Level 2 Diploma in Professional Cookery to further your career opportunities.

Entry Requirements

You will need a grade 4 in English Language and Maths. Plus, you will need one GCSE at grade 4 or above, or equivalent.

You must be keen and interested in hospitality and catering and have an aptitude for hospitality skills. A two day selection process will also form part of the entry requirements.


The Laurence Building boasts new facilities throughout including an IT suite, modern kitchens and a stunning commercial restaurant within the faculty. The Exeter College student-run restaurant, @thirty-four is located within the Laurence Building on the Hele Road campus. The award-winning restaurant is run by budding young chefs and enthusiastic waiting staff, who are all students studying with us. The restaurant has been awarded the AA College Restaurant of the Year, the highest accolade a college restaurant can achieve. This news comes shortly after receiving an AA Highly Commended College Rosette, find out more here.

Additional Costs

Uniform, knives and equipment will cost approximately £350.00. This equipment will last you for your entire programme and will positively help start your career in the catering and hospitality sector.

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