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Aaron’s apprenticeship puts him on the fast track to success


Good apprentices make good chefs.

At Swatpro Academy, we’ve been delighted to work with many talented young people who have shown their bosses – and the dining public – just how good they are.

One such, is Aaron Finch from Torquay.

The 24-year-old is currently very busy preparing the menus and supervising staff at the town’s Aztec Bistro, part of the 1,200 guest TLH Leisure Resort.

“I started working in a kitchen when I was 17 and I enjoyed the job and wanted to move up the ladder and train as a chef,” Aaron recalls.

Last year, whilst Sous Chef at TLH Leisure Resort, he undertook his Level 3 Senior Production Chef Apprenticeship, supervised and assisted by Swatpro Academy’s Del Anning.

“Covid meant little face-to-face time, but he helped me work through two to three topics a week, using Zoom calls to show me exactly what the qualification required,” Aaron says.

“I was learning new skills all the time, and with things I did already know, it reinforced the correct way of doing things: I’d say it was an extremely valuable experience.”

During his apprenticeship, the Aztec Bistro’s Head Chef departed and Aaron was promoted to Acting Head Chef.

“The apprenticeship has been a massive help. I’m involved in pricing menus, looking at cash flow, minimising waste, as well as preparing and cooking food and supervising staff,” he enthuses.

“I’ve gone from a trainee to someone who is helping train junior staff!” he laughs.

After completing his apprenticeship, Aaron has been confirmed in the job as Head Chef and had his work cut out bringing the busy Bistro back from takeaways to a full lunch and evening menu.

“It’s been a lot more responsibility, but I’m loving it,” he says.

Aaron says he’d like to undergo more training – “learning new skills is really important” – and his eventual aim is to own his own restaurant.

“To anyone considering an apprenticeship, I’d say if you have the passion and enjoy the job, go for it straight away! You learn, you earn, and it can be the key to a very good job.

“Del and the Swatpro team were a massive help to me. I can’t praise them enough,” he adds.

So, if we’re thinking of dropping into the Aztec Bistro (it is open to visitors as well as guests) what does Aaron recommend?

“It’s all great food, prepared with care from the finest ingredients, but if you ask me what I like to cook the most I’d say fish.

“You need to know what you’re doing to cook them, but I think the rewards justify that.”

We agree Aaron!

Aaron’s apprenticeship puts him on the fast track to success