The Worshipful Company of Cooks Visits Downe House

Our Head Chef, Phil Weston, has been expanding his extensive experience through the outstanding course for the professional development of chefs run by the Worshipful Company of Cooks and Westminster Kingsway College. We were pleased to host their most recent module, Chef’s Forum.

12 April 2023

Our Head Chef, Mr Phil Weston, has worked at Downe House for over 9 years and started at the School as a Chef de Partie, was promoted to Sous Chef and this year was made Head Chef. To continue expanding his extensive experience, Mr Weston has embarked as a student on the programme run by the The Worshipful Company of Cooks of London and Westminster Kingsway College. Recently, we hosted a study day for the Chef Management Apprenticeship Programme. The Worshipful Company of Cooks is one of the oldest Livery Companies in the City of London and was incorporated into a Royal Charter in 1482 and can be traced back to 1170. The company now champions the craft of cooking and offers assistance in education and training to those in the hospitality and catering industry.

As part of the programme, all the students take turns to host a study day at their place of work to help them build an understanding of the variety and diverse nature of the hospitality industry. As the only independent school involved, we were absolutely delighted to host a day on campus. During the programme, Mr Weston has been lucky enough to visit the likes of the Guild Hall in London, The Ritz Hotel, Wembley Stadium, The Reform Club, The Park Plaza Hotel and The Carlton Club amongst others, which has showcased some amazing culinary talent.

This has been an unbelievable opportunity that has enhanced my management skills and broadened my knowledge and understanding of the variety within the industry. It has also allowed me to meet and become friends with some unbelievably dedicated, passionate and talented people.
– Mr Weston, Head Chef

During the day, the guests were treated to a working breakfast, an overview of Downe House from the Director of Estates & Services, Mr Alasdair Heath and an insight into the hospitality and catering operation from the Catering & Events Manager, Mrs Sarah Dyson.

Being able to support one of our team in this way is fantastic. As an organisation, we will benefit from the skills and knowledge Phil has developed during the apprenticeship and I have no doubt there are exciting times ahead for our Catering and Events team.
– Mr Heath, Director of Estates & Services

Following an amazing buffet lunch, an afternoon of study and an afternoon tea of Cornish scones, jam and clotted cream, our guests were presented a Downe House gift bag that celebrated 100 years of the school being in Cold Ash and the importance of our local community. This gift bag highlighted local produce with a bottle of beer from the Slanting Hill Brewery, cheese from the Pangbourne Cheese Company and honey and soap from Ben’s Berkshire Bees. This was an inspiring day that saw the very best in culinary flare, teamwork and education.

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