Defence Forces School of Catering
The Defence Forces School of Catering (DFSC) is the primary institution which is tasked with the delivery of all catering and catering management training to members of the Defence Forces (DF). The school has been in operation as a training establishment of the DF since the foundation of the National Army in 1922. Since then it has been known under various titles, Army School of Cookery, Army School of Catering and its latest title the Defence Forces School of Catering. While its appellations have changed with the trends of the times, its core mission has not; it still remains the centre and repository for all DF catering skills and catering management training.
The school conducts training ranging from basic culinary skills training for new inductees into the catering branches of the DF, to management courses for junior leaders, senior NCOs and officers. It trains personnel for the provision of catering services in both the garrison and in the operational setting, both overseas and at home or at sea. The DFSC is justifiably proud of its record, which delivers high class and professional culinary skills and catering management training to personnel of the DF. We have become a centre of excellence for the delivery of catering training to our trainees and for the provision of expert advice on catering issues to units and formations in the wider DF.
Training methods and approaches to learning in the school have evolved over the years. In the latter years there has been a sea change in relation to the delivery of craft and management training. In the 1980s work began on getting cooks courses accredited with the London City and Guilds (LC&G) qualifications, thus the young Entry Chefs and Advanced Chefs Course was given the equivalent of LC&G credits. This was later changed to Irish craft educational equivalents, of NVQ, Fáilte Ireland and the current accreditation of level 6 FETAC awards. In 2010 the school secured the status of a service provider for the level 6 FETAC award of the Certificate in Professional Cookery. All personnel who therefore complete the Young Entry and Advanced Chef’s Course are awarded the Certificate in Professional Cookery. The strategic vision of the school is to keep up to date with the professional awards and standards that are available in the outside training establishments in the craft areas. We also must be relevant to the catering needs on the DF in terms of catering management training and providing specialist advice on the catering matters at home and overseas.
The DFSC continues to develop and conduct skills and catering management training courses for the DF. The school provides up to date training across a across a wide spectrum of activities in the catering field. Courses of instruction are conducted from the beginner’s basic chef’s course to the management courses which are required by cook NCOs. The school also provides a professional catering advisory service to the DF. This can be advice to command and logistics personnel in the individual units of the DF. The school provides advice to the Directorate of Engineering on catering equipment installation from new build projects and kitchen refurbishment to advice and recommendations to Directorate of Ordnance on field catering equipment, ration packs and food procurement. The following courses are conducted at the DFSC:
- Young Entry and Advanced Chef’s Courses
- Junior Catering Management Course
- Standard Catering Management Course
- Senior Catering Management Course
- Field Catering Course
- HACCP and Food Safety for Food Workers