With the hospitality industry facing its greatest combined pressures in decades, chefs are under a huge responsibility to exceed diner expectations, justifying the cost of dining out with experiences that are memorable, and distinctive.
A huge part of delivering for this expectation is innovation, and to innovate, you need the skills and confidence, says Justine Murphy one of the best-connected personalities in hospitality, who has just launched MACA, the first-ever online training courses for professional and student chefs, given by professional Guest Chefs at the very top of their game including Gareth Ward and James Knappett.
“There can be too little time available for regular training of this quality within our busy professional kitchens, and some of the skills that need to be shared are not always being taught in depth, so we’re bringing the best training to students and professional chefs in the most convenient way, where and when they want it.”
Tom Booton’s Lobster Thermidor Tart. Photo by Tom Willcocks
Justine, Founder and CEO of mymuybueno operates MACA from a custom-designed demonstration kitchen and offices in Hammersmith, West London. Having twenty-five years working within hospitality, she has designed the courses for trained chefs wanting to learn from their favourite chefs, or to better develop their skills where they have holes in their repertoire.
MACA – mymuybueno Academy of Culinary Arts - is an online training academy teaching culinary skills and techniques in all areas. The first Guest Chefs to create modules for MACA are Gareth Ward, Adam Handling, Harriet Mansell, Tom Booton, Sally Abé, James Knappett, Kirk Haworth and Jules Cooking, with many more joining MACA going forward to expand the range of culinary styles and techniques.
The MACA Guest Chefs will be sharing several of their signature dishes each with one day full virtual courses showing every element, in easy step by step stages of learning.
“There is no question that learning from chefs at the very top of their game brings an entirely new dimension to peer mentoring,” says Murphy.
“Our focus is on providing the very best training in culinary arts, in a step-by-step module format, so that culinary professionals and students can learn with confidence every step of the way. We are revolutionising the way chefs learn, instilling confidence with our way of teaching to benefit them not just now, but for life,” says Murphy. “It also makes training more intimate than ever before, as you are right there, one-to-one with the chef, and the courses can be accessed on an unlimited basis once you’ve registered.”
James Knappett’s six demonstrated dishes include Cornish Blue Shell Lobster, Isle of Wight Tomatoes, Tahitian Vanilla, Hollandaise, Fine Herb; from Tom Booton his selection of dishes include Glazed Veal Sweetbread, Lentils, Maitake, Celeriac; and from Harriet Mansell in her wild food and seasonality focussed modules, Brown Sugar Panna Cotta, Mugolio, Rhubarb & Pine is on her demonstration menu.
Gareth Ward, of the multi-award-winning Ynyshir Restaurant says that this is an "Awesome opportunity to be a part of the ever-growing MACA. Justine uses her extensive network of industry giants to make sure chefs get the most well-rounded skill set and knowledge in this epic world of fine dining."
Adam Handling’s Raspberry & Meadowsweet Trifle. Photo by Tom Willcocks
Adam Handling, Chef Owner of the Adam Handling Restaurant Group says: “A great idea like MACA is super rare. Justine, through her amazing hospitality network, has lined up some legendary chefs to make a brilliant series of videos that will, step-by-step, help ambitious chefs to up their game. I’m proud to be a part of it.”
“MACA is just what’s needed to give fresh ideas and pass on real time skills to busy chefs at every stage of their career. I’m so pleased to be part of the first group of chefs to take part, it’s a great way to reinforce my commitment to proper training for everyone who wants a career in the professional kitchen,” says Sally Abé, Consultant Chef The Pem, Conrad London St James.
MACA also offers House Chef courses, given by its own expert team of chefs, with individual modules covering different skills and techniques, from deboning a chicken wing, to sushi rice, sorbets, ice creams, chocolates and more. There are also longer house courses including advanced plating and presentation, and superyacht chef.
“By bringing everything online, we are making our courses accessible globally, to everyone, evolving what used to be our existing physical cookery school and building upon all the same popular courses which we delivered then, but now making it more convenient to be able to learn wherever you are,” continues Murphy.
“We have created our modules to make everything as straightforward as possible, including downloadable lists of ingredients and equipment required for each module and recipe, so that preparation can be made in advance to get the most out of each session.
“We’ve even integrated AI into the system to help students make the right choice of modules, for example, suggesting all the pastry options from all of our chefs.”
As well as sharing each element in the preparation of their dishes, the chefs will also pass on their plating tips for perfect presentation. This includes using the most appropriate flatware, glassware and cutlery from the mymuybueno Luxuryware collection, selected from the top specialist brands, and available to buy.
To take up the courses, chefs and students must enrol with the Academy, and all training is conducted within the MACA website www.mymuybuenoacademyofculinaryarts.com and platform. Modules start at £70; Guest Chef Courses are £300, and one-week courses start at £1,650. Klarna is available for those students wishing to pay in instalments.
MACA’s partners include N25 Caviar, Difference Coffee, Bragard and Hexclad.
To find out more about MACA and check out the available courses, please visit