“The Academy’s ethos has always been to continue the progression of culinary excellence throughout the UK”

The Staff Canteen

The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts (RACA) has launched an alumni network with an opening event at The Berkeley in London with over 120 participants.

The network will act as the new arm of RACA, set up to inspire young professionals to become the next generation of dedicated and exceptional chefs, pastry chefs and restaurant managers, at a time where the industry needs it most.

Members of the Alumni Network will benefit from mentoring, networking and career development opportunities from RACA members.

Commenting on this announcement, Richard Larkin, Managing Director of RACA, said: “Present times have encouraged us to adapt and challenge the problem of our hospitality workers becoming disenfranchised within the industry.”

He added: “Our Alumni Network has been launched to improve the talent pipeline, by giving young workers the opportunity to collaborate, whilst also being able to interact with our inspirational Academy members, who provide a first-class hospitality experience to customers.”

Outlining the the Alumni Network’s goals, Richard added: “The Academy’s ethos has always been to continue the progression of culinary excellence throughout the UK, by delivering educational schemes, opportunities and training, therefore we are delighted by the launch of the Alumni Network and look forward to seeing the scheme progress.”

Launch attendees had their first opportunity to network with like-minded professionals and hear from those at leading institutions throughout the country.

Attendees heard talks from John Williams MBE, Chairman of RACA and Executive Chef at The Ritz; Adam Byatt, Chef and Proprietor at Michelin-starred Trinity Restaurant in Clapham and Chef Director of Food and Beverage at Browns Hotel, Mayfair; Alistair Birt, Senior Head Pastry Chef at Harrods; and James Golding, Group Chef Director of The Pig group spoke about sustainability.

The new membership category joins RACA’s initiatives including the Master of Culinary Arts (MCA), a competition aimed at skilled industry professionals to push themselves to the highest level through challenging tasks and expert judging.

Alongside the Annual Awards of Excellence (AAE), which encourages young professionals to participate in culinary competitions and should aspire to reach the ranks of the MCA.

Notable members, who are joined together to progress the culinary arts, include; Heston Blumenthal, John Williams MBE, Raymond Blanc OBE, Jason Atherton, William Curley MCA and Benoit Blin MCA.

Events planned for 2023 include a Champagne Masterclass at the Connaught Hotel (January), Moët & Chandon Champagne Tasting Masterclass (March), Academy of Cheese Masterclass (June) and a Masterclass with master chocolatier, William Curley MCA (September).

It is hoped that the Alumni Network will help to arrest the decline of individuals joining the industry, by encouraging more young workers to undertake apprenticeships, test themselves through competitions and, ultimately, persuade more to stay in the industry.

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 19th October 2022

“The Academy’s ethos has always been to continue the progression of culinary excellence throughout the UK”