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Apprentice voice The APprentice chef 3 year old Maxime Soret’s love for food 2 and cooking was inspired by his father’s ability to prepare simple but tasty meals, and

me what they wanted me to do, practically – what I should use to prepare something, where it was stored, where to put the dirty things. There is a routine to do almost every day, every week, which I pretty much got to know how to do, and they would give me a demonstration of any new task.”

by the international cuisine he experienced whilst dining out with his family. Now Maxime’s prestigious two year level 3 professional cooking apprenticeship has given him the opportunity not only to taste, but to turn his hand to preparing signature dishes from around the world for hundreds of hungry MPs as an apprentice chef in the House of Commons’ busy Larder and Terrace kitchens. Maxime explains the variety of dishes he has learnt both whilst working in the kitchens During the first year Maxime attended a special and at college. awards ceremony to collect a certificate for his “I helped prepare quite a lot of different meals, outstanding achievements. such as desserts, side dishes, starters and main One of the requirements of the apprenticeship is courses. We do breakfasts and lunches. I prepared that apprentices must receive vocational training a lot of vegetables, and also dough for things like that leads onto a recognised professional level croissants. I also have the opportunity to do fancy 3 qualification. So one day a week Maxime has things like canapés, skin rabbits, pluck pheasants been attending West Kingsway College where and fillet fish involving cutting off the head and tail he has completed an NVQ level 3 qualification in end and filleting it. I also cooked crab bisque that Professional Cookery alongside his non-disabled involves killing the crab whilst its moving.” peers. The course has covered all aspects of

Working as an apprentice chef is certainly not for professional cooking, and the apprentices complete the squeamish or for the faint hearted as Maxime online, practical and work-based assessments. Whilst at college all the apprentices are provided says: “I worked mainly in The Larder, where we also with a laptop where they store their work and did quite a lot of fancy things like canapés. At the complete online assessments.

Maxime, who has Asperger’s syndrome, requires both a working and learning environment that is inclusive of apprentices who behave and learn in different ways from their peers. Maxime prefers a structured environment where there are plenty of opportunities for learning by doing, aided by visual demonstrations when practising and perfecting his professional cooking skills. He is provided with Throughout the placement Maxime found learning support assistance including help with the support he received from his bosses very understanding the theory aspects of the course and the assessment arrangements. encouraging and supportive. “The chefs were happy to help and support me, also “There was quite a lot of theory involved on the the other employees,” he said. “They would show health and safety and food hygiene side of catering in the workplace. I had to learn about food hygiene Terrace, next to The Larder, I had to prepare lots of different dishes every day, and sometimes help out other chefs with the main courses needed for upstairs and downstairs. That was a bit too stressful. In The Larder, it was pretty much preparation work, rather than cooking hot meals. I can handle stoves and ovens, just for a little while, but it does get me, the humidity and heat.”