Students of the BA(Hons) in Culinary Arts are cooking up a storm in London for their international work placement gaining world-class experience
One of the unique and most exciting features of the BA (Hons) Culinary Arts programme is that students spend their third year abroad, with a semester on work placement and a semester studying at one of WIT’s partner universities in Canada, France, The Netherlands, USA or Northern Ireland.
Since the programmes’ inception, students have worked in a wide variety of culinary establishments, ranging from a Michelin star restaurant in Budapest to a boutique hotel on a vineyard in the South of France and a five star luxury hotel in the Canadian Rockies.
Commenting on the international opportunities available to students on the Culinary Arts programme, Dr Suzanne Denieffe, Head of School of Humanities, said that "work placement has long been an integral part of our programmes at WIT, and increasingly we are developing links with international employers, ever conscious of the need for our students to develop the skill set necessary to navigate the global workplace".
According to International Placement Coordinator in the Department of Languages, Tourism and Hospitality, Dr Don O’Neill, "We have an extensive data base of international employers and give every assistance to students to find a suitable overseas placement’. Dr O’Neill added that ‘students on study and work placement in the EU benefit from Erasmus funding to assist with travel costs while students who are eligible for a SUSI grant can also avail of this funding while spending time abroad as part of their studies. In addition, many employers offer students a stipend making the experience very affordable".
This academic year, students from the BA (Hons) Culinary Arts programme have chosen to work in very different environments. Three examples of placements carried out by our students in London include, working as a sous-chef in a bustling seafood restaurant in the exclusive Mayfair; learning the art of bread making as a baker’s apprentice in London’s busiest bakery and producing refined and very specialist pastries in a boutique pâtisserie.
- Third year student, Daniel Hartigan from Dungarvan, County Waterford chose to do his work placement in Scott’s Seafood and Fish Restaurant in Mayfair. The restaurant has a large selection of market-fresh fish, seafood and caviar plus an elegant oyster and champagne bar. The work placement enabled Daniel to perfect his culinary skills in a dynamic and busy kitchen working as part of a team of over forty staff from over twenty different countries.
- Clara Rochford from County Wexford worked as an apprentice baker at Paul Rhodes multi-award winning Bakery in Greenwich. The bakery produces over 45,000 units of top quality handcrafted breads, pastries and cakes per day all for consumption in the London area.
- Finally, Kate Miller, also from County Wexford, had a particular interest in working in the area of pastry and chose to work at Boulangerie Jade, a specialist bakery, pastry shop and café in Blackheath, southeast London. Kate developed her skills in preparing fine pâtisserie, working on specialist pastries, many that take several days to prepare under the watchful eye of a world-class pâtissier.
These three students will continue the third year of their programme studying abroad from January to May. Daniel will follow a Culinary Arts programme at Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, USA. Meanwhile, Clara and Kate have opted to study Fresh Business Management at Fontys University of Applied Sciences in Venlo, The Netherlands.
Programme leader for the BA (Hons) Culinary Arts, Lorain Walsh, reports that students benefit greatly from their year abroad "developing not just a range of practical advanced culinary skills but a wide variety of transferrable skills, including heightened intercultural competence and advanced team work". Ms Walsh adds that "these skills will help shape exciting and rewarding careers for our graduates as leaders in the field of culinary arts both at home and abroad".