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London welfare-to-work programme highlights South African wine

A London restaurant with a welfare-to-work training programme will highlight wine as part of the trainees’ curriculum in South Africa.

Launched by London cookery school doyenne Prue Leith, the Michelin-recommended Hoxton Apprentice restaurant will send 10 apprentices to Leith’s four year-old College of Food and Wine in Pretoria, South Africa, at the end of August.

In addition to cooking, the apprentices will focus on wine, and travel to Cape Town and the local wine regions as part of their education. On their return to the UK, they will serve a South Africa-themed menu alongside matched wines for the first two weeks of September.

‘Wine is an integral part of cookery and hospitality, and anyone who works in a restaurant should have at least some knowledge of it,’ said Leith.

‘Some of the trainees will have had an unhealthy relationship with alcohol in the past, but many experts believe the best way for them to learn to deal with this is to show them how wine should be enjoyed in a social context.’

The launch evening was sponsored by South African Tourism, wines were contributed by KWV.

‘I prefer sweeter rosés,‘ said Leon Seraphim, Junior Sous Chef at Hoxton Apprentice, who will be going to South Africa. ‘But I’m looking forward to learning more about other styles of wine in South Africa – as well as the food.’

Hoxton Apprentice is run by Training for Life, an organisation which trains chronically unemployed citizens and places them in hospitality apprenticeships in all types of restaurants, including Gordon Ramsay’s. This particular programme is sponsored by South African Tourism.

Written by Maggie Rosen

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