Diploma in
Culinary Arts

Elite Chef Training


The Diploma in Culinary Arts is an inspiring chef training programme in an intensive format designed to prepare you for a career as a confident, modern chef.

Over the course of this 16 week programme we will:

  • Develop your culinary skills to a professional level.
  • Prepare you for a career as a modern chef.
  • Inspire you to become the best cook you can be.

Who is this course suitable for?

Typical ambitions of those that take this course include:

  • launching a career as a professional chef.
  • opening a cafe, pub, bistro or restaurant.
  • launching a catering or food business.


Total Chef Training

You will receive a comprehensive training programme that will develop the qualities and skills required to become a successful chef.

Our 'Total Chef' training delivers a modern approach to chef development and is unique to the Ashburton Chefs Academy focusing on three areas of development which we call Hands, Head, Heart.


A chef is nothing without a mastery of the practical skills to create great food and this is a highly practical course. Around 70 days of your course content will be dedicated to developing your core cooking skills and a complete understanding of the essential cookery concepts and skills.

Real World Experience - Towards the end of your course, you will also experience the excitement of cooking for paying customers as you prepare and deliver a 5-course tasting menu to guests at the Ashburton Dining Club.


A successful chef is a thinking chef and you will be instructed in essential topics such as:

Food Hygiene
Kitchen Management
Managing the supply chain
Menu Planning
Food Allergies & Nutrition
Wine Matching


Great cooking comes from the heart! We will focus your passion to enrich and inspire your cooking.

Guest Lectures
Field Trips & Visits
Ethics & Issues

Term 1 Practical Skills

  • Level 3 HABC food hygiene.
  • Knife skills, chopping & cutting at speed.
  • Basic soup preparation, cooking and finishing.
  • Breads and laminated doughs.
  • Stocks, sauces & basic dressings.
  • Pasta-making & cooking.
  • Poultry & Duck butchery.
  • Preparing and cooking shellfish.
  • Fish filleting and preparation.
  • Terrines.
  • Basic pastries and ice creams.
  • Cakes & Biscuits.
  • 4 days Practical Assessments.
  • Individual tutorial session.

Field Trips & Masterclasses

  • Brixham Fish Market
  • 1 Day with Master Butcher

Culinary Theory

  • Poultry & Duck.
  • Lamb.
  • Pork.
  • Beef.
  • Stocks, soups & sauces.
  • Introduction to Seafood.
  • Managing a supply chain.
  • COSSH.
  • Risk Assessment & Planning.

Term 2 Practical Skills

  • Food and Wine Matching.
  • Laminated and enriched doughs.
  • Complex de-boning.
  • Feathered & furred game.
  • Complex butchery skills.
  • Complex offal cookery.
  • Complex canapés and Petit Fours.
  • Complex fish filleting and cooking skills.
  • Complex pastries.
  • Chocolate tempering and moulding.
  • Advanced sauce making techniques.
  • European & Asian cuisines.
  • Molecular cookery.
  • 5 days of themed practical assessment.
  • Individual tutorial session.

Culinary Theory

  • Offal.
  • Seasonality of Ingredients.
  • Science of Molecular Cookery.
  • Sugar.
  • Veal & Venison.
  • Shellfish.
  • Pros & Cons of Fish Farming.
  • Assignment planning.

Field Trips & Masterclasses

  • Field trip: Game at Devon Clinton Estates
  • Masterclass: Chocolate
  • Masterclass: Making and curing meats.
  • Event: Dining Club week.
  • Masterclass: Foraging and wild food.
  • Masterclass: Advanced gluten free recipes.
  • Event: Graduation evening.
  • Event: Graduation lunch at restaurant.


All of our courses have been designed in-house by our team of chef tutors to reflect the contemporary skills needed by the modern chef.

Within the courses we incorporate several accredited qualifications that are recognised internationally, but Ashburton courses go above and beyond the requirements of the qualifications to give you the most comprehensive experience possible. You won't find the quality of Ashburton training and experience anywhere else.

CTH Logo

Level 4 Diploma in Culinary Arts

Confederation Of Tourism & Hospitality

This is one of the highest level, practical chef qualifications. This accredited qualification is regulated by Ofqual and carries 84 credits within the Qualifications Credit Framework.

CTH Video
Ashburton Logo

Diploma in Culinary Arts

Ashburton Chefs Academy

The Diploma in Culinary Arts is a record of your training at the highest level. Chef graduates have a strong record of success and achievement within the industry.

Laurence Henry Video
Highfield Logo

Level 3 Award In Food Safety


The Level 3 Award in Food Safety is a 3 day course which takes place in week 1 that is an essential head chef food qualification.

Residential Details


Choose our optional Shared Student Accommodation option for a comfortable stay in a luxury lodge at Finlake for the duration of your studies. Find out about more our Accommodation here.

Room Pricing

Course Duration Price
Diploma in Culinary Arts 110 Nights £4,400
Deposit: £250
Reservation and damage deposit which is returned at the end of course upon successful checkout.
Please see our terms and conditions for full details. Additionally please read the Rules of Residence.

Course Dates


  1. 2024 Diploma 1
    Tue 09 Jan to Fri 26 Apr, 2024
  2. 2024 Diploma 2
    Tue 07 May to Fri 23 Aug, 2024
  3. 2024 Diploma 3
    Tue 27 Aug to Fri 13 Dec, 2024


  1. 2025 Diploma 1
    Tue 07 Jan to Fri 25 Apr, 2025
  2. 2025 Diploma 2
    Tue 06 May to Fri 22 Aug, 2025
  3. 2025 Diploma 3
    Tue 02 Sep to Fri 19 Dec, 2025

Frequently Asked Questions

The minimum age is 18 years old

Yes, Chefs Academy courses are full-time, with intensive practical training. This is one of the reasons why our students can achieve so much during their time with us. Academy students can expect to receive around 34 hours+ direct tuition a week.

Our training programmes are intensive-format, which means you spend more time in the kitchen each day learning to cook. This means we can run more courses in the year, coupled with our efficient operation, lower overheads of being in Devon and the fact we are a not-for-profit company makes us so affordable.

However, there is no compromise in the quality of training, course content or ingredients, in fact we think they are better. The benefits for you are that for the equivalent price of a London course, you can get an Ashburton course with our accommodation option.

  • Small class sizes and individual attention.
  • Full-time courses. Learn more, learn faster, graduate quicker.
  • Expert tuition from experienced, professional chefs.
  • A passion for quality, local, sustainable ingredients.
  • A beautiful part of the world, between Dartmoor and the coast.
  • A quality, shared student accommodation option.
  • An excellent reputation and track record of successful graduates.
  • Amongst the best pricing available.

Yes, we are accredited by the British Accreditation Council so you can study with us for up to 6 months. Find out about overseas students entry requirements here..

Not at all. This is a common question we get from mature students who are considering retraining in a new career and are concerned that they are going to feel like they are going back to school. Our courses are not like those offered by a traditional catering college - both in the style of training we offer and the environment you will learn in. The broad range of ages and backgrounds of students on this course will mean you feel very much at home.

The skill requirement to take this course is that of a confident home cook. If you have no prior cookery experience at all we recommend you take either our Beginners Weekend or our 5 day Foundation cookery course first prior to taking this course which will teach you the basic cooking skills you need.

You secure your place onto this course with a £1000 deposit. Your balance is then due 4 weeks before the start of the course which is either by bank transfer, or will happen automatically if you have taken out our finance option.

For full details of our Cancellation Policy please read our Terms and Conditions.

All the food we source is from high quality local, food suppliers. Our fish, meat, poultry, dairy and vegetables are sourced from producers within 25 miles of the Academy. It is our policy to reduce food miles, to source seasonal organic ingredients at every opportunity, and to only use sustainable food stocks. We audit the provenance of all of the produce we use. Your training and your food will benefit substantially from our approach.
We provide you with 2 chef uniforms and 5 aprons to keep, and all the equipment you will need is provided within the course.
Yes, in the first week you will complete a 3 day food hygiene course for senior chefs which will be invaluable for your future career.

Yes, our Diploma level courses are available for ELCAS funding for forces service leavers. Find out more here.

No qualification can replace years of experience in a commercial kitchen of course, but we will prepare you to be a skilled chef with a good technical ability, excellent presentation skills and the confidence to be able to cope in a pressured and commercial environment, be that a Michelin starred restaurant or cooking for a private function. Graduates of this course have excellent career prospects.

Graduates can expect to be considered seriously for junior chef positions in quality restaurants. Your training at the Chefs Academy is aimed at preparing you for a future head chef position, but of course this is dependant on your own ambitions and the opportunities that come your way.

The Academy will be able to support you in your search for employment with references and introduce you to the vacancies offered by partner companies at hotels, restaurants, chalet and yacht crew agencies.

Of our most recent graduates all those that were seeking to enter a professional kitchen were offered jobs at some of the leading restaurants in the UK since their commitment to the industry and their level of skill was highly regarded.

Course Fees

Everything you need is included in the course fee including chef uniforms, course notes, training and exam registration fees.

Diploma in Culinary Arts 16 weeks
Option 1: Full Payment £14,995
Option 2: Course Finance
(UK only). Details
£354.85 /month
for 48 months
110 Nights Room (Optional)


You can secure your place on this course with a £1000 deposit. Pay your balance 6 weeks before the start of the course.


Apply online today, and we will contact you to start the enrolment process.

Thank you!

We've received your application and one of our student advisors will be in touch at the earliest opportunity within our office hours. We are open 7 days a week from 9am to 5pm.

We look forward to speaking to you soon.

Please add our email address support@chefsacademy.co.uk to your email contacts.
Graduate Stories

Glebe House

On a recent field trip with Diploma students, we visited Ashburton graduate, Hugo Heier, now Chef Patron of the inspiring Glebe House in East Devon.

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