Following a redundancy, Cindy decided to change career and follow her lifelong ambition to work in the food industry. She is a graduate of the Culinary Skills Certificate (September 2015). Here she tells us about her experience of the course…

What is your career background?

I’ve spent my whole career in sales and business development in the defence industry. Due to redundancy I’ve been looking to change career and work in the world of food.

Why did you decide to take the course?

I was looking for an internationally recognised qualification that would help me get a job afterwards. I didn’t want to spend months out of work so the 3 week course was perfect. I thought it would give me time to learn a wide range of skills and prepare me for working in a professional kitchen. It’s great that I’ve picked up a CIEH Level 2 in Food Safety & Hygiene as well as the Level 2 in Culinary Skills.

What made you choose White Pepper?

They are local to me and it saved me the expense of going to a London cookery school. But also, they were very friendly. I went to an Open Day and they were extremely welcoming and it felt like an inspiring place to come and learn. I signed up that evening and couldn’t wait to get started.

What skills do you feel have most improved?

I’ve learnt so many skills in three weeks, but the ones that have most improved are my butchery and fish filleting, skinning and gutting skills. I’m not so squeamish now! Also, we were given a folder on the first day with all of the recipes and daily plans so I knew what we’d be making. This was helpful as I made notes along the way and it’s something I’ll take with me and refer back to.

Do you feel more confident in the kitchen?

Definitely. I was a bit nervous about some of the things we’d be making, but feel much more confident in all of the skills we’ve covered. It’s not just the cooking skills, but also having to work as a team with the other students. Exam day gave me experience of working under pressure, which is a valuable skill for working in a professional kitchen. Also, being able to get everything together and serve it whilst it’s warm is a real skill in itself. I’m used to cooking at home but having done the course it’s given me a good taster for working in a professional kitchen.

How do you feel about your future now?

Much more confident, especially knowing that White Pepper gives me help with finding work even now the course has finished. I’ve already arranged a one-to-one session to discuss how and where to find work and I’m hoping to find a role where I can learn more on the job. It’s nice knowing that the support is there even once the course has finished, as not all cookery schools offer so much help.

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