How to Cater for Hungry Apprentices

17/01/22

Sam Morgan, TVC’s Executive Chef shares his know-how about how to feed hungry apprentices:

Our Chefs have catered for thousands of apprentices who have stayed with us over the years whist undertaking onsite training. Although there isn’t an age limit on apprentices, most are aimed at 16–24-year-olds, and whilst food is really important to everyone, this age range seem to need a lot of food to keep them happy! Many of them are away from home for the first time, or in a working environment for the first time, so they need familiarity and comfort; great food can really make a difference to their whole experience.

Our Chefs are experts in feeding young adults; here’s our guide to choosing the foods that will keep your apprentices happy:

Consider your demographic…

The first step is to choose a venue that is accustomed to hosting teenagers and young adults, and so will serve age-appropriate food. It may sound cliched, but in general this age range enjoys convenience and they like to be familiar with what they are eating. They may already be feeling outside of their comfort zone because they are away from home, so traditional favourites such as burgers, chicken and chips will always go down well. BUT we say this with a caveat; don’t make them boring. Don’t skimp on quality, and do try to take a twist on the traditional. Challenge the familiarity, why not use a beautifully braised brisket for a Lasagne instead of the mince alternative. The aim is to still be creative in our culinary approach.

…But don’t ignore the minority

Not all apprentices are 16–24-year-olds, so the varying age ranges pose a different challenge; we are servicing an almost entirely different clientele. We aim to challenge the old normal to the new norm. The classics such as curries are suddenly not enticing enough, so moving with the trends is essential. Japanese cuisine has been on the high street for some time; it challenges the palette, and items such as a Chicken Katsu Curry which were once deemed adventurous are now the new normal. Applying this logic to older more classic dishes allows for experimentation to please our apprentices – whatever their age.

Presentation is important

The old saying ‘we eat with our eyes’ is especially true of this age range, so make sure your food looks tantalising and appealing. Could your venue’s Chef serve burgers wrapped in take away style paper, or be on hand to serve and customise dishes for guests as they choose their meals? There’s just something about a Chef actually serving food and being in the restaurant that gives us all a thrill and really lifts the presentation of a meal. Apprentices will enjoy having a chat with the Chef about a dish, and finding out how it was made and what’s in it, and further connects them to their food and creates a buzz.

Variety is the spice of life

If your venue can serve age-appropriate food, can your apprentices then jazz up and customise their choices? Tastes vary wildly so make sure that your apprentices have options to personalise their meals – for example by building their own burgers, choosing different toppings for their breakfast oats or by customising their own wraps. It certainly isn’t one size fits all, and venue Chefs need to create clever and enticing ways to enable apprentices to have choice, whilst keeping costs and food waste down.

Variety #2

Will your venue ring the changes for your apprentices or will they stick to the same menu for their entire stay? Our venue Chefs ensure that they hold themed nights such as Peruvian, Mexican or even Lebanese to offer a great deal of variety throughout the stay of an apprentice. No one enjoys eating the same thing for dinner twice in a row so make sure your venue can accommodate a variety of foods served during the week or fortnight-long booking.

Sustainability

In 2021, the eyes of the world have been focused on COP 26. Most companies have sustainability goals so your choice of venue and the food it serves to your apprentices need to tie into your goals. Sustainability needs to run through all of the above choices. Talk to your venue to see what they already have in place to help you deliver on your company’s sustainability targets. For TVC in 2022 we aim for all of our menus to be plant-forward and to challenge food waste head-on whilst being creative. We have a target in place for 50% of our menus to be plant-forward catering to the ever-changing market.

By working with a venue that knows and understands the catering needs of apprentices, you will ensure they are well fed and happy throughout their stay – and avoid the need for them to head out to the costly local takeaways for dinner – which then increases your costs too!

If you’d like to discuss booking our accommodation or meeting rooms for your apprenticeship training programmes, please do get in touch with our team: enquiries@thevenuescollection.co.uk