Cooking Up A Better Future with Swatpro Academy
Sometimes you have to take a step back to see the way forward. That's something that chef Pedro Faria knows all about.
Watchers of TV's MasterChef may recognise Pedro from his appearance as a contestant in the 2017 series. Although he did not win the contest, he says: "It was fun. A great thing to do, and all part of the learning process for me. Definitely a step forward."
Having secured a position as head chef at a busy Devon hotel, Pedro realised he wanted to really get to grips with his chosen profession and learn the skills that could stand him in good stead for a lifetime.
For Pedro, the road was undertaking a Level 3 Hospitality Supervisor and Leadership Apprenticeshipplus Level 2 Maths and English Functional Skills under the guidance of Swatpro Academy.
"It was a beautiful experience," says Pedro. "I could cook before, but I learned so much – including about things I had never studied, like budgeting; managing staff and dealing with paperwork."
Swatpro Academy’s Del Anning worked closely with Pedro, assessing his progress at the hotel where the ebullient Portuguese worked.
"Del gave me excellent advice and guidance," Pedro says. "Many chefs have no qualifications, but an apprenticeship gives me something that is recognised everywhere. I can show to prospective employers what skills I have. It's wonderful!"
For Del building confidence is also part of the training support, provided by Swatpro Academy:
"I really enjoyed teaching and helping build Pedro's confidence - he will have a long and illustrious career - I'm confident of that."
Pedro first came to the UK to work as a kitchen porter, but he says he spent much of his time talking with the chefs – and tasting their wares.
"I've always loved good food, I love to eat!" he laughs. "I told the chefs that one day I would be doing their job."
Through hard work, and taking in an NVQ on the way, Pedro achieved his dream and now with the 20-month Level 3 apprenticeship course behind him, he is looking to his long-term future in the industry.
"The boss at my old hotel wanted me to stay as head chef and was sad for me to go," he recalls, "but I knew I needed to get more skills and experience to be at my best."
Pedro now works as a sous chef at an elegant hotel in Brixham, Devon, with a Rosette standard to maintain.
With his new skills, the position of head chef is again his ambition – though first there's the matter of his first child, due in July.
"I love my work and I love cooking. I'm kind of old-fashioned and I like old-fashioned – I like traditional dishes; lamb; duck and – my favourite is seafood. Coming from Portugal, it's most natural for me," he smiles.
Devonian diners can taste Pedro’s delicious food, while his culinary skills continue to be nurtured with the support of Swatpro Academy.