Four of the world’s best Chinese chefs flew 5,000 miles from Tianjin to the UK to serve up a Chinese New Year banquet for Prime Minister Theresa May.

The quartet of Master Chefs, all based at the Tianjin School of Cuisine (TSC), responded to a request from UK-based PAM Education to design and deliver a menu of Chinese delicacies, in partnership with Crawley College students on the UK’s only Chinese Culinary Arts (Lu Ban) Diploma, for the PM’s celebration.

Led by Zhengxi Wu, head of training at the TSC, Jiankun Yu, Yakun Zhang and Molly Mu, the four chefs and students Tracey Connors, Marcel Chisiu, Yu Guan Liu worked on a specially chosen canapes menu featuring eight dishes that showcased Chinese cuisine at its best.

The invite to cater for the event enabled TSC, PAM education and Crawley College, to use the opportunity as a workshop for the diploma course, which was only launched last October.

After two initial webinar sessions, the four Chinese Master Chefs flew to London and joined up with the student chefs at Crawley College two days before the Downing Street event, to fine tune the dishes ahead of the reception, which was attended by 150 guests including the Chinese Ambassador and celebrity chef Ching He Huang, on Friday 31 January.

The three student chefs plus Master Chefs Wu and Mu, were allowed access to the Downing Street kitchens to prepare and serve the menu.

Dr Xiaoli Dutton, founding partner of PAM Education, hailed the success of the entire operation and thanked the four chefs for their support and expertise, which put the Lu Ban initiative firmly in the spotlight.

She said: “When we were made aware of the invite from Downing Street, we took the initiative to ask for help from TSC master chef lecturers.

“They were fully supportive of the project, even with such short notice, and had no hesitation agreeing to plan a menu, work with the students and to deliver it at Downing Street.

“It was an incredible experience for all involved, especially the student chefs on the Diploma, who got first hand experience with the Master Chefs and then the opportunity to go to Downing Street. There was areal community feel to the entire experience.

“Without question, it proved just how successful collaborative learning between students, businesses and education providers can be.”

The Chinese Culinary Arts (Lu Ban) Diploma was launched in October 2018 and has backing from Tianjin School of Cuisine, Chinese Cuisine Association, Tianjin Cuisine Association, Tianjin Municipal Education Commission and the Tianjin Food Group. Collectively, they are looking to increase the number of skilled Chinese chefs in the UK to avoid a chronic shortage across the country’s restaurants.

This diploma is the world's first UK-regulated qualification outside of China and is based on the Chinese culinary skills standard written by the Tianjin School of Cuisine (Tianjin 2nd School of Commerce).

Dr Dutton added: “Tianjin Food Group, Tianjin Municipal Education Commission and Tianjin Municipal Government are firmly behind the Lu Ban Workshop initiative. They are enthusiastic about introducing authentic Chinese cuisine technical standards and Tianjin style food to the world and have been supportive to British Lu Ban Workshop related events. Without their support, it wouldn't have been possible to fly four master chefs over at such a short notice, whose trip was sponsored by the Tianjin Food Group.”

The course currently has three free scholarships, which is targeted at those already working in the catering and hospitality sector and looking to enhance their career opportunities.

For more information about the scholarships and the course go to and search ‘Chinese Culinary Arts’ or go to




Issue date: 7th February 2019

Contact: Dr Xiaoli Dutton

See Downing Street news article


PRESS RELEASE - 22nd August 2018

Decline in Chinese chefs sees UK’s first Chinese food diploma launched to produce ‘home grown’ talent

Fears of a demise of the Chinese restaurant industry due to a lack of chefs has led to the launch of the first fully regulated Chinese-specific catering course in the UK.
Backed by the Chinese Culinary Association and Tianjin Food Group, the new Chinese Culinary Arts course, which starts next month, will look to secure the industry’s future by producing ‘homegrown’ Chinese chefs in the UK.
The course – a mix of online learning and practical assessments - is aimed at current and aspiring chefs in the catering industry that want to enhance their skills and forge a successful career path in this sector.
It is also targeted at restaurant and hotel owners looking to increase their existing dining options as well as saving them upwards of £15,000 to recruit a Chinese chef from the Far East.

Why is the course needed?

The current recruitment process for Chinese chefs is time consuming, costly and has to overcome UK government red tape, which prevents the recruitment of chefs for Chinese takeaways – which is the UK’s favourite in a £30bn industry.
At present, most Chinese chefs are recruited from overseas with owners using recruitment agents to find chefs willing to relocate to the UK. This comes at considerable expense, which is estimated at £15,000 per chef. This does not take into account the substantial salaries that also have to be paid.
As a result of this, many restaurants are feeling the heat and facing the risk of closure because they cannot afford the sums required.
This course, the first step, aims to alleviate that by ensuring a stream of Chinese chefs – at a much-reduced cost - trained in the art of Chinese food.
It is envisaged this will re-energise the industry as a showcase for Chinese food and provide the stimulus for new business opportunities.
With growing new opportunities throughout the world for qualified chefs as well as to staff the many Chinese kitchens of Great Britain; chefs will be trained to the highest standards using the latest cooking technology designed to make kitchens greener more energy efficient, while addressing the health and well-being issues associated with old style traditional kitchens.

David Pedrette MD of Target Catering Equipment, says:
"This is the way forward for training providers to work with industry from around the world developing a global workforce qualified to the highest standards".


What is the Chinese Culinary Arts course?

The course – which will follow Lu Ban workshop principles - has received significant inward investment from China to ensure that it will produce chefs of the future.

It is a level three qualification managed by Coventry-based PAM Education and run in conjunction with Chichester College Group and Tianjin 2nd School of Cuisine Food Group. Successful completion will secure a Diploma in Chinese Culinary Arts.
Course content is delivered primarily online, including weekly webinars, with practical assessments at Crawley College at the end of each term.

Topics include
• The Origin and Development of Chinese Food Culture
• How to Prepare and Cook Chinese cold dishes
• how to prepare and cook Chinese hot dishes
• History and skills for making Chinese pastries
• History and skills required for Chinese dough modelling.
• Development of skills for cutting, shaping and presentation
• Awareness of the importance of seasonal and regional variations.

Russell Grocott, PAM Education founder and director, says:

“Our work with the Tianjin School of cuisine has escalated from what started as the design of an Education programme into a mission to reintroduce authentic Chinese Culinary Arts across the UK. Our programme provides budding Chinese chefs and restaurant owners with the opportunity to learn skills and gain a regulated qualification recognised world-wide supported by the finest Master Chefs based in China.

Students can complete the learning programmes and practice the skills from the comfort of their own kitchens. We have fantastic support from the National Cuisine Associations of Tianjin and China and we are thrilled to introduce this unique opportunity into the UK.”


Julie Kapsalis, Managing Director (Commercial) for the Chichester College Group, says:

“We are delighted to launch this brand new course, in a unique, on-line learning format. Part of an exciting new partnership, the project has great potential for students and tutors at Crawley College and in China to learn from each other and to develop new skills. Working closely with international educational institutions is important to Crawley College and to the Chichester College Group as a whole - we want to see the group develop at home and abroad.”

The course commences in October 2018. Registration is open now with limited places available.
For more information see the course website, or or contact Jo Chappel, Head of Learning (Service Industries) of Crawley College on 01293 442466 or by emailing on

Issue date: 22 August 2018
For more information contact: Dr Xiaoli Dutton on 07786 330707 or e-mail
A special launch event is being held at Crawley College on Monday 8th October, time 10:45am.
A folder has been created which has photos and videos that can used – you can view that here

About PAM
PAM Education is an organisation started in 2016 with the objective of introducing and managing commercially viable Education initiatives involving the UK and Chinese Training and Learning sectors. It specialises in managing effective realistic collaborative projects that result in ground-breaking innovative curriculum designs involving Sino-British expertise and excellent working practices.
About Crawley College
Crawley College is a further education college with a large campus in the heart of Crawley. It is part of the Chichester College Group, the largest provider of further education in Sussex. The college has excellent facilities for learning including construction, engineering, motor vehicle and trade workshops, fully equipped hair and beauty salons, professional training kitchens and a new restaurant.

The Advanced Technology Centre and IT Academy offer students some of the best facilities in the region for studying IT, creative media and engineering subjects. Crawley College works with businesses and organisations across the South East to deliver a diverse, employer-led curriculum and Apprenticeships, giving students the knowledge and skills they need for the careers they want.

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