Banbury, OX16 9QA
Culinary courses for curious cooks developed in partnership with Heston Blumenthal and The Fat Duck Group.
"This is my dream. I’ll decide where it goes from here."
—Alice; Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
These unique programmes, only available at Activate Learning colleges, are developed in partnership with Heston Blumenthal and the Fat Duck Group to develop and advance your cooking skills.
At the end of this journey, you will graduate with a Professional Cookery qualification endorsed by City & Guilds.
Whether you want to work in a professional kitchen, become a world-famous food blogger, critic or food stylist, you'll be encouraged to interpret and apply to your own work, traditional cooking techniques and those made famous by Heston Blumenthal.
Heston believes a successful journey through this industry is powered by a strong sense of curiosity, a desire to learn and by receiving instruction that is relevant, authentic, motivating and that sparks imagination. This is aligned with the Activate Learning Philosophy, which is rooted in an understanding of how the brain, motivation and emotions work together to encourage learning.
In each programme, you will use a more experimental and scientific approach in order to develop your cooking skills and senses. Complete your journey of culinary exploration and discover methods of applying the principles of food science and cooking to new routes and possibilities.
What I'll Learn
Creating a true culinary experience starts and ends in the mind; your skills are simply the tools that will bring that vision to reality.
On this programme, you will build on your existing skills and knowledge. You will further your understanding of preparing and cooking stocks, meat and offal, fish and shellfish and desserts. You will also expand your knowledge of the legal and social responsibilities in professional kitchens. These skills will be vital in building a career in any professional kitchen, anywhere in the world.
However, what sets this programme apart from others is the emphasis we place on the fundamentals of understanding ingredients and exploring their tastes, flavours and fusions. Heston Blumenthal has identified two critical attributes for working in this field: Restless Perfectionism and Creative Curiousity. To find out more about how these attributes can benefit you and how we develop them, click on the links on the right.
Inspired by these critical attributes, you will be provided with a rich variety of learning experiences, including:
- practical exploration
- food science experiments
- work and industry experience
- customer facing activity
- employer-led projects
As well as linking with the Fat Duck Group’s expertise, you will benefit from the Activate Learning Attributes curriculum, which will help you develop the key characteristics and skills employers are looking for in potential employees. This will be achieved through one-to-one support sessions.
If you are still working towards gaining GCSEs in English or maths, or if you need help developing your digital skills, we can help with that too.
How I'll learn
Our qualified and professional tutors will provide instruction in our industry-standard, fully-equipped kitchens on site.
The focus of this programme is experimenting with flavours and culinary experiences. Exploration, as well as failure, is a key part of learning and you will be encouraged to take risks and given the confidence and support necessary to do so.
Learning for each module will begin with playful multi-sensory exploration of ingredients, flavours and methods and end with self-reflective evaluation. You will learn to tell the story of your food exploration and practice the skill of intriguing customers. In between, there is guided self-assessment, peer review and formal instruction from tutors.
The cornerstone of this programme is the development of your attributes to ensure at the end of each programme you are highly employable and that you can apply your learning practically. This will entail one-to-one guidance from your tutor and self assessment.
How I'll be assessed
Assessment of your practical skills is continuous and we test your theoretical knowledge too.
Your tutor monitors your progress and offers advice and guidance so you achieve the most from your study.
Applicants for the Level 3 programme will need to have completed a Level 2 qualification in chef's skills or have a minimum of three years' relevant work experience in a quality establishment.
They will normally have at least five GCSEs at Grade 4 (C) or above (including some subjects related to the proposed area of study) and the willingness to study for an additional Level 2 qualification in English and/or Maths.
Applicants will be invited to attend an interview and complete an internal assessment. All students will have their literacy and numeracy needs supported within the programme.
How to Apply
You can apply for this programme online. Click on APPLY NOW and follow the steps below:
- Register for our online service and verify your account
- Log in to our website and click APPLY NOW on your chosen programme’s page to complete your application
As part of your application, you will be asked to provide us with your contact details, how your chosen programme fits with your future plans and if you require any extra support (for example, because of a disability, medical condition, learning or language support needs).
Please include full details of your qualifications from your own country, as well as details of any English Language tests you have taken.
Printed application forms are also available.
Please contact our Careers team if you need advice and guidance to help you choose the right programme for you.