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Sodexo serves trainee chefs opportunity of a lifetime at The Open

Student chefs Nicolle Finnie and Chloe Hart
Nine student-chefs have been given the work placement of a lifetime after spending a week cooking for thousands of sports-fans at The Open Championship at Royal Troon.
The trainees, who are all studying HND Professional Cookery at City of Glasgow College, were taken on by Sodexo as part of its commitment to recruitment, training and development.

The student chefs joined Sodexo’s 80 strong team in the kitchens at the Championship and were based in The R&A Complex, working in the popular Links Pavilion. Responsible for serving up to 1,500 guests a day, the trainees produced dishes including handmade stonebaked pizzas, pulled port sliders and slow roast rib of beef with roasted heritage vegetables.

Sodexo forged a partnership with City of Glasgow College five years ago, after recognising the unique training opportunities it could offer.  

City of Glasgow College, Senior Lecturer, Gary Maclean, said: “I was blown away by the scale of the catering operation at The Open – the quality of food being produced is incredible and it is created in a really unique environment. I suddenly realised this was a whole area of hospitality that I didn’t know about and therefore wasn’t encouraging students to think about as a career option. Our partnership with Sodexo has been invaluable in not only offering practical placements, but by helping to broaden the appeal of the industry.  

“Our students work side-by-side with Sodexo’s chefs and are given individual responsibilities. They aren’t on the side lines; it’s a full-on, hands-on learning experience. Although it can be intense, it offers an unparalleled opportunity to the next generation of chefs and each of them walks away with a huge sense of achievement.”  

Sandy Robson, Account Director at Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events, said: “As a business, we are committed to encouraging and mentoring the next generation of hospitality professionals, as well as promoting the industry as a vibrant career full of opportunities.  

“The experience our trainees get at The Open is one they are unlikely to obtain anywhere else. Not only do they receive first-class training from our experienced craft team, but they get the chance to work in a fast-paced, professional event catering environment and understand how it operates.”  

Sodexo has been The Open Championship’s official catering and hospitality partner for over 30 years and employs around 1000 staff across the site. Due to the challenges that can be presented by the event’s annual move to locations across the UK, planning starts almost a year in advance. Central to this is a recruitment drive which aims to find new talent, provide training and give employment opportunities in the local community.

This year Sodexo’s staffing team developed a partnership with Prestwick Chamber of Commerce as well as a number of local colleges, promoting employment opportunities to students through a series of ‘roadshows’. At Ayr College, a week’s training, including World Host customer service accreditation, alcohol license certification, barista and restaurant service training, was provided to those interested in working with Sodexo at The Open.  

52 team members joined Sodexo through these local routes, working across the The R&A Complex, Hospitality and Public Catering during the week-long tournament.  

The 145th Open took place at Royal Troon from 10th-17th July 2016.

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