It has long been a dream of mine to run a small cafe come delicatessen having only maybe four or five tables but providing a good range of world cuisines that could be taken home to reheat and eat that evening for dinner, the idea came from a lovely little Italian cafe I used to visit when I live in Leeds – it was a family run business that basically sold coffee and pizza slices to eat in and baked pasta dishes to take out, everything was top notch quality and the place was always packed out and thriving, I do hope it is still there. This property of mine would be preferably in a semi rural location close to local producers, enabling me to sell local, organic produce and anything that couldn’t be sourced locally would have to be FairTrade and have as minimal impact on the environment as possible. That would be my ideal scenario and should the opportunity arise I would gladly give up my day job and jump right into the challenge ahead.
To do be able to even think of commencing a venture like this I would of course need a Food Hygiene Certificate under my belt and despite having completed some in house training at a large company during my gap year I didn’t possess the necessary certificates that the Environmental Health would require. Imagine my surprise when after testing out products from Abel & Cole I was then asked by the same PR company to complete an online Food Safety and Hygiene Level 2 (Catering) course!
The course is run by Virtual College and consists of twelve online modules to complete before taking an online exam. There isn’t a time limit for the completion of the modules but the exam lasts for a generous two hours. More details about the modules can be found here.
I found the course very interesting and informative, although I did remember a lot of the information from my earlier training there was a significant amount of content that was new to me and that kept my mind focused and my interest levels up. The modules are all extremely well laid out and the comic nature (cartoon characters of bacteria for example) of some of the pages helps to make the experience more enjoyable than just screen after screen of writing. Almost all of the pages are interactive, either giving you an activity to undertake or simply asking that you click on an object such as a toaster to allow the information to ‘pop’ up.
The practicality of the test is superb, you can dip and and out of the course as you need to allowing it to be fitted around family commitments/work commitments etc. without any detrimental effect to your learning.
I’d highly recommend the course, even if you’re not working in or planning to work in a professional kitchen there is plenty of information that could be helpful to the home cook, the likes of food storage and preparation was of particular interest. You get send a certificate through the post on completion.