Brigade, a renovated 19th century fire station now home to a bar and bistro, cook school, social enterprise and dedicated events space in London, is celebrating its fourth birthday this week.
Brigade – part of the De Vere Venues group of nationwide conference, meeting and training centres – opened its doors in September 2011 as a partnership between PwC UK, Beyond Food Foundation, De Vere Venues and Big Issue Invest.
Working with Beyond Food, Brigade hosts a series of training programmes that inspire people who have experienced homelessness to change their lives. Brigade also offers fully accredited apprenticeships within its extensive training kitchen where apprentice chefs are able to gain an NVQ Level 2 diploma in professional cooking before moving on to sustained employment.
Under head Chef Simon Boyle, apprentice chefs at Brigade produce seasonal British food in the bistro and cater for private events in Brigade’s five dedicated event spaces. Brigade’s training kitchen also supports a full range of team building cookery courses for corporate events up to 45 people.
Simon Boyle Chef Founder of Brigade and Beyond Food, commented: “Since we opened, we have worked with nearly 700 people helping inspire them to learn new skills and change their lives. Some of those are employed by us as full-time apprentices and work with Brigade for six months developing their skills as professional chefs before completing their apprenticeship with one of our employment partners. The chef shortage has been widely publicised recently and I’m hugely proud that we’ve trained 82 people as part of our United Kitchen Apprenticeship.”
Simon continues: “Our business is all about creating social value and delivering social impact but it’s also about great food and fantastic service. On our fourth birthday, we want to say a big thank you to all our customers who allow us to help more and more people every time they buy a meal, a drink or book a meeting.”
Brigade has created a special menu to celebrate its birthday, bringing back classic customer favourites such as Wild Mushrooms on Toast, Mutton Shepherd’s Pie and Treacle Tart.