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 VRQ2 Diploma
  • Study Mode: Full Time Only
  • Course Level Level 2
  • 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.

Whilst studying the VRQ2 diplomas you will gain the necessary knowledge and understanding to enter the catering and hospitality industry. The qualification will test your practical, theoretical and food service skills, whilst allowing you to further explore the diversity of this vast industry. You will undertake a variety of experiences ranging from competitions, educational overseas visits, placements, masterclasses and gaining first hand experiences from industry specialists such as Michael Caines, Mark Hix, Tanner Brothers, WSET and many more.

The course will include a variety of experiences to underpin your knowledge learnt whilst studying at college, gaining further insight into the complex and diverse nature of the catering and hospitality industry. You will be assessed throughout the year via practical and theoretical examinations which will culminate in two final synoptic examinations. All examinations are graded (pass, credit, distinction)

What topics will I study? 

  • Investigate the catering and hospitality industry
  • Food Safety in Catering
  • Health and Safety in catering and hospitality industry
  • Healthier foods and special diets
  • Catering Operations, costs and menu planning
  • Applying workplace skills
  • Prepare and cook stocks, soups and sauces
  • Prepare and cook fruit and vegetables
  • Prepare and cook meat and offal
  • Prepare and cook poultry
  • Prepare and cook fish and shellfish
  • Prepare and cook rice, pasta, grains and egg dishes
  • Prepare and cook desserts and puddings
  • Prepare and cook bakery products
  • Legislation in food and beverage service
  • Menu knowledge, design and resources
  • Applying workplace skills
  • Principles of beverage product knowledge
  • Service of hot beverages
  • Food and beverage service skills
  • Handling payments and maintaining the payment point
  • Principles of customer service in hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism

You will:

  • Continue your studies in a wide range of top quality food preparation
  • Investigate the catering and hospitality industry
  • Cover areas such as costing and menu planning, healthier foods and special diets
  • Experience competitions, work placements and overseas residential visits
  • Develop your understanding and delivery of excellent customer service
  • Learn first hand from top chefs such as Michael Caines, Mark Dodson, Peter Gorton and others
  • 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 next stage of this course (Level 3 Diploma in Food and Beverage Service Supervision), seek an Apprenticeship or apply for employment in a related field.

Entry Requirements

You will need a grade 3 in English Language and grade 3 in Maths. You must have successfully completed the VRQ Level 1 Diploma in Professional Cookery, have excellent attendance, a positive reference from your tutor and during your progression meeting have demonstrated excellence.


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

The additional costs for knives and equipment will cost approximately £200.00, the additional knives will help support the requirements of the qualification and aid your continuation into industry.

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