ASPIRING chefs will now have the chance to train with the backing of celebrated restaurateur Mark Hix thanks to a new academy opening at Weymouth College.

The college has teamed up with the celebrated chef and food writer to train the next generation of chefs and restaurant staff at the Hix Academy.

Mark, who is a former student of Weymouth College, has been heavily involved in the planning of the academy including creating the curriculum for the course and designing the restaurant in the style of his other establishments.

Students battled in out in the kitchen in a series of skill assessments in front of Mark and the team of chefs who will be teaching the apprenticeship.

Mark sampled omelettes cooked by the applicants and couldn’t resist holding an omelette race with the other chefs.

He said: “It’s all really exciting and everything is going to plan - we’ve finished on time. I was particularly inspired by my college lecturer when I studied at Weymouth College so I’m hoping this restaurant will do the same for others.

We’ve seen some promising, talented people apply and this will be a great opportunity for them to work in a proper restaurant within a professional kitchen.”

Students who are accepted into the Hix Academy will be working in a fully functioning kitchen, restaurant and bar gaining the skills and high standards needed for a career in the catering industry.

Principal Liz Myles said the academy is unlike anything else on offer at the college.

“It is a very exciting project and a fantastic example of innovative further education.” She said “No one has ever done anything quite like this before, and when I put the idea forward to Mark he snatched my hand off to do it. The involvement of Mark and his team alongside passionate college teaching staff will inspire students to achieve excellence. It is absolutely great news for the Weymouth area.”

The academy will be taking on 45 students this year and will now be choosing which of the aspiring chefs will be selected for the course Those selected will be trained up in the kitchen, in front of house and on the bar, before the academy officially opens its restaurant to the public on Wednesday, October 22.

The Hix Academy will run as a fully functional restaurant, open to the public from Tuesday – Sunday.