Professional Culinary Arts Level 1

Culinary courses for curious cooks developed in partnership with Heston Blumenthal and The Fat Duck Group.

“This is my dream. I’ll decide where it goes from here.”

—Alice; Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

These unique programmes, only available at Activate Learning colleges, are developed in partnership with Heston Blumenthal and the Fat Duck Group to develop and advance your cooking skills.

fat duck group and activate learning logo

At the end of this journey, you will graduate with a Proefssional Cookery qualification endorsed by City & Guilds.

Whether you want to work in a professional kitchen, become a world-famous food blogger, critic or food stylist, you’ll be encouraged to interpret and apply to your own work, traditional cooking techniques and those made famous by Heston Blumenthal.

Heston believes a successful journey through this industry is powered by a strong sense of curiosity, a desire to learn and by receiving instruction that is relevant, authentic, motivating and that sparks imagination. This is aligned with the Activate Learning Philosophy, which is rooted in an understanding of how the brain, motivation and emotions work together to encourage learning.

In each programme, you will use a more experimental and scientific approach in order to develop your cooking skills and senses. Continue on this journey of culinary exploration and discover methods of applying the principles of food science and cooking to new routes and possibilities.

>This is a three-year pathway that starts with teaching you the fundamentals of professional cookery right through to advanced techniques practiced in modern restaurants. You will start your progression at Year 1 (Level 1). However, if you have been in the industry for one year or have a relevant professional qualification, it may be possible to start on Year 2 (Level 2) of the course.

Our qualified and professional tutors will provide instruction in our industry-standard, fully-equipped kitchens on site.

Creating a true culinary experience starts and ends in the mind; your skills are simply the tools that will bring that vision to reality.

On this programme, you will build on your existing skills and knowledge. You’ll learn the fundamentals of preparing and cooking stocks, poultry and the production of fermented dough products. These skills will be vital in building a career in any professional kitchen, anywhere in the world.

However, what sets this programme apart from others is the emphasis we place on the fundamentals of understanding ingredients and exploring their tastes, flavours and fusions. Heston Blumenthal has identified two critical attributes for working in this field: Restless Perfectionism and Creative Curiousity. To find out more about how these attributes can benefit you and how we develop them, click on the links on the right.
Inspired by these critical attributes, you will be provided with a rich variety of learning experiences, including:

  • practical exploration
  • food science experiments
  • work and industry experience
  • customer facing activity
  • employer-led projects

As well as linking with the Fat Duck Group’s expertise, you will benefit from the Activate Learning Attributes curriculum, which will help you develop the key characteristics and skills employers are looking for in potential employees. This will be achieved through one-to-one support sessions.

Learning for each module will begin with playful multi-sensory exploration of ingredients, flavours and methods and end with self-reflective evaluation. You will learn to tell the story of your food exploration and practice the skill of intriguing customers. In between, there is guided self-assessment, peer review and formal instruction from tutors.

Four GCSEs grade 3 (D) or above including English & maths and/or a completed Level 1 award.

If you are interested in a Level 2 programme and have alternative qualifications you would like us to consider please contact us with your details.

Applicants will be invited to attend an interview and complete an internal assessment.

All students will have their literacy and numeracy needs supported within the programme.

Explore your career progression options

If you are considering applying for this programme, why not explore your potential career progression routes using our handy tool.

You can explore live job vacancies, next level qualifications and apprenticeship standards in your local area. Not only this but you can also watch videos of real people talking about their experiences of working in your specific industry or occupation of interest.

Want to find out more and chat to our tutors about your options?

Why Banbury and Bicester College?

  • Clear routes of progression with qualifications ranging from foundation level to degree level!
  • Industry experienced teaching staff give you the responsibility and independence you need to take charge of your own future.
  • 150+

    Courses available

  • 2018

    Rated "good with outstanding areas" by Ofsted in 2018

  • 79+

    years of teaching experience

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