A top French chef visited South Thames College to kick start the construction of their new Professional Hospitality and Catering Academy.

Bruno Loubet joined Principal Sue Rimmer yesterday at the ground breaking ceremony that marked the beginning of the construction of the £5.7 million centre.

The Academy will be equipped with the latest industry standard facilities including three contemporary teaching kitchens, a specialist pastry kitchen and flexible classroom spaces.

The building will include conference facilities as well as its own commercial restaurant open to the public, providing a real-world experience for both kitchen and front of house students.

The new Academy will focus on providing professional standard training that will provide the industry with top quality chefs and front of house staff.

Bruno Loubet, chef-patron of Bistrot Bruno Loubet in Clerkenwell, has been involved in advising South Thames College on the fit-out of the kitchens with the latest industry standard equipment and has helped to develop the course curriculum to ensure the courses provide the skills and techniques required by industry.

He said: “I am very proud to be helping South Thames College on this exciting new project.

"It's a pleasure to work with Principal Sue Rimmer and the team at the college, who are really passionate about ensuring the curriculum reflects what is happening in the industry.

“I look forward to conducting master classes and sharing my knowledge with students and hope that other chefs will be coming on board to do the same.”

Ms Rimmer added: "Our aim is to be the top Hospitality and Catering school in South London.

"We recognise this is a growth sector which demands high quality staff – with the support of a top professional like Bruno, we can ensure we meet this challenge and become the preferred professional training centre for the industry.”

Courses will start in September 2013.

For more information about the courses on offer visit the website at www.south-thames.ac.uk or visit the open day at the Merton Campus on Thursday 25th October from 3pm-7pm.