Cucina Grows its Own People

Catering expert Cucina has started training its first recruit at their new Academy for school leavers.

Dom Turner, a former pupil at Esher High School in Surrey, has started his first year’s training with Cucina Head Chef Andy Wilcock. Dominic, who lives in Cobham in Surrey, travels on his moped to work at Cucina’s restaurant at Teddington School in Middlesex, where Andy is guiding Dom through an NVQ in Catering.

Dom, 16, had work experience with Cucina Executive Head Chef Ian Morgan whilst in Year 10 at Esher High School and then continued cooking at Wildwood Italian restaurant in Cobham after completing his GCSE’s.

Dom’s daily routine involves taking his scooter to work from 7am to 4pm, following in the tyre tracks of scooter nut Ian Morgan. Dom is currently preparing sandwiches, cooking meats and pastas and assisting our Executive Chef with menu production as a Commis Chef, part of his on-the-job training.

Steve Quinn, Managing Director of Cucina, said:
“We are really pleased to be giving career opportunities to the pupils at our Schools and Academies. We have contracts at 10 Academies now up and down the country, so it seems fitting to establish our own Academy where pupils who have enjoyed our fresh food over a number of years can enhance their culinary skills with on-the job training at one of our restaurants. Dom is a great example of someone who has sometimes struggled to find his passion at School but has now found what he wants to do. He has always had a passion for cooking and we are more than happy to harness this at Cucina, to help Dom’s dreams come to life. Well done Dom, we look forward to seeing you grow within the Cucina team. We aim to roll out further Academy opportunities within our 30 restaurants nationwide, with Harefield Academy in Middlesex being particularly interested.”

Dom, whose passion for catering grew from an early age as his Dad owned pubs and hotels, added:
“I am over the moon to have had this opportunity with Cucina and very grateful to Steve Quinn, Sam, Andy, Ian and all the Cucina team. My aspirations at Cucina are to get as much experience in every part of the kitchen. I dream of being a top chef and have set a target of having my own restaurant in ten years. I could get that dream by working with Cucina and getting as much experience as possible. Cooking is like a hobby for me, as I enjoy it so much I don’t see it as work. Every time I am on my scooter to work in the morning, I think about what I am going to learn next and how I can get quicker at what I do. I feel very special being at the start of Cucina’s Academy and hope that other people can do this as well; it’s really good to be supported by Cucina.”

Andy Wilcock added:
“Dom is learning how important every part of the team here is. Everyone in the kitchen is as important as everyone else – if Dom gets these values instilled he’ll never have a problem for the rest of his life.”

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