An aspiring chef has spread his wings and sought to master his culinary skills outside his native Italy. With the whole of Europe and a choice of countries with impressive histories of fine food to hand, he chose Stratford-upon-Avon, after his grandmother, who lives in the Warwickshire town, recommended the superb catering training provided by the local College.
Passionate about becoming a successful chef, Akela Nevelli, aged 21, approached the Work Based Learning team at the College, who helped him secure an advanced apprenticeship in Professional Cookery at the restaurant No 9 Church Street, under the mentoring of Chef/Proprietor Wayne Thomson. Wayne himself started his catering career by training for three years at Stratford-upon-Avon College, before moving to London to work at some of the most prestigious establishments in the capital: The Savoy, Claridge’s, Monte’s of Sloane Street and L’Odeon, working under culinary luminaries such as John Williams, Alain Ducasse, Bruno Loubet and Anthony Demetre.
Akela counts himself extremely fortunate to have Wayne as his mentor – a National Finalist of both the National Chef of the Year competition and The Roux Scholarship, and a recipient of The Academy of Culinary Arts’ Annual Award of Excellence. In addition to passing on his expertise, Wayne has given Akela the opportunity to learn all areas of the kitchen as well as taking him to see suppliers and markets to choose the best ingredients.
Commenting on Akela’s apprenticeship, Wayne said, “I’m passionate about offering opportunities to young chefs like Akela because it offers him the chance to develop Commis Chefs skills from scratch. Also, having apprentices working in the restaurant showcases to my other staff the amazing opportunities for career development that are available to them.”
Akela himself is convinced he made the right decision in choosing to become an apprentice in Stratford-upon-Avon: “I have really benefited from my Apprenticeship as it has allowed me to develop the practical skills to work as a chef and, as the course is so closely linked to my work with Wayne, I feel that my skills and understanding have developed far faster than if I had just taken a full- or part-time course.”
Find out more about the College’s range of apprenticeships.