Skip to main content

Prestigious Michael Caines Academy Celebrates Successful 10 Years at Exeter College  

Designed for budding head chefs and those aspiring to a career in front of house, the Exeter College Michael Caines Academy gives students the opportunity to learn from one of the industry’s best. On 21 June, the College celebrated the Academy’s 10 year anniversary with a special evening dedicated to students past and present and to its patron, Michael Caines MBE.  

This competitive Academy provides students with a mix of challenging practical and theoretical workshops, with high profile experiences and masterclasses from leading chefs to promote excellence in hospitality and catering. The Academy now boasts over 160 graduates with a 100% pass rate. 

Michael Caines MBE, said; 

“We had the vision 12 years ago to start the process of setting up the academy and we now have 10 years of graduating students, many of them making an impact on the industry. It is the right thing to do; to pause and reflect and celebrate the achievements of all these students but also the Colleges achievements in having the vision to set the academy up. The academy has been part of the excellence that has been created here for students.  

“Cooking with the students at the dinner here in the College is a very special moment for me, for the graduating students, the parents and guardians, and of course the lecturers that have all added their enthusiasm and passion for nurturing this generation of students that have come through the College.”   

Speaking about the Academy’s success, he said; 

“It takes partnership and commitment, that’s why we have an Outstanding College here, that’s what makes colleges Outstanding. Going that extra mile for their students – it does not surprise me that Exeter College continues to grow because its focus on excellence across all the areas and the celebrations make students feel like they have been a part of something special, which of course they have. It’s a very proud moment for us all.” 

Exeter College Principal and Chief Executive, John Laramy CBE, said; 

“As an ex-student and Patron of the College, Michael fully understands the ambition and ethos of the College. In working with us to create the Michael Caines Academy he has embodied our pursuit of excellence.  

“He is an aspirational role model for all our young people, not just those who have an interest in hospitality. His passion, energy and dedication mean that students at the College have benefited not just from his talent and expertise, but from the partnerships and networks that he has so successfully cultivated over his career. Oxford and Cambridge are often identified as the pinnacle of academic study, for me the Michael Caines Academy has set the same bar, but for the technical discipline of hospitality and catering. 

“The opening of the world class Lympstone Manor has also created new opportunities for the students on the Academy. The thing that makes this Academy different is that Michael has not just added his name, he has invested his knowledge and time, which has made a massive difference to the College and our students.  

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Michael for his amazing and ongoing contribution to the College, his wisdom and energy have ensured this partnership has been a sector leading success. The people in the room tonight are absolute proof of that.” 

During the evening guests were treated to a special three course meal, prepared by Michael and the first year Academy students. Alumni were invited to stage to talk about their experiences in the Academy and what they are doing now before graduating students were presented with certificates. 

Grace Blake-Grove, graduating student, said; 

“My time at the Academy has been exceptional, from the things I have learnt to the amazing lecturers and young chefs on the course with me.  

“A huge highlight of the last two years was our course trip to Italy. Surrounded by all my friends, culture, and great food, it was not only an educational trip but a moment we could all bond over. 

“Though I am sad to be leaving, I hope to gain a place at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, where I completed my six-week work placement this year, an opportunity I was fortunate to have received thanks to the Micheal Caines Academy.” 

John Brimacombe is pastry chef for Acleaf at Boringdon Hall, who were recently awarded a Michelin Star. Speaking about his favourite memories of the Academy, he said; 

“A lot of the trips were genuine fun, you become really good mates with your class. When you go to some of these incredible places, for example we went to Lucknam Park, it is a great experience with not only industry leaders but your friends as well which is pretty enjoyable. 

His advice for students looking to work in the industry is; 

“Just question everything and enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy it, there is no point. Have fun. There are easier jobs out there, but they aren’t as rewarding.” 

Part of the success of the Academy is also due to the staff at Exeter College who work to deliver Michael’s vision and support the students through their time at College.  

Ian Biggar, Programme Lead and Tutor at Exeter College, said;  

“The opportunities this partnership with Michael has provided to our students is invaluable. It means we can be as confident as possible when they leave us that we have provided them with everything they need to succeed. 

“The passion and drive that Michael and the team here instil in our students will see them through even the toughest days of their career.”  

Paul Carne, Programme Lead at Exeter College, said; 

“We are incredibly lucky to have worked with such a variety of talented students over the years who have gone on to do exceptional things and make a real impact on the hospitality industry.  

“Thanks to the passion of Michael and the commitment from the College, we know this will continue and we are excited about what is to come.” 

Congratulations to all our graduating students. This year’s students are; 

  • Bethany Addicott  
  • Oliver Ashfield-Donaldson 
  • Grace Blake-Grove  
  • Meg Burnell 
  • Ellie Fairchild 
  • Talia Hutchings 
  • Freya Hole 
  • Sophia Joakim 
  • Joshua Power 
  • Joe Sandham 
  • Isobel Simpson 
  • Jasmine Timms 
  • Tomasz Waszkiewicz 
  • Maddie Webb 
  • Bryher Wilson 

Thank you to the sponsors of this event, without their kind support, events like this would not be possible.