Having help the college set up the course from scratch is an unbelievable achievement and the college using my expertise to set up part of the curriculum is even more humbling.
The Director of Study position and package offered, however, is a joke I will never forget. £6,000.00 per year (gross). It is so sad that The College of Naturopathic Medicine disgraced itself in such a way.
From this "so-called salary" I had to use my own printer to bring papers to class, was not allowed to use school phone or any other medium for support to use in class, and on top of that would have had to deal with all the students accumulating (by the day) grievances and missing classes and late homework and much more.
Thinking that a cleaner (no disrespect to any profession, honestly) gets, at least, £14,000.00+ a year, this "slap in the face" is nothing short of a story to tell the grandchildren and made me realise that my knowledge and experience is not a "Black Friday" sale item, and never will I ever let a company abuse me or make a mockery of my profession.
Letter that became my Resignation:
Sent: 03 February 2018 18:34
"Following yet another execrable day in class today, I would like to officially send my ultimate warning.
I have 2 classes on my schedule in the run to April. These will be the last 2 classes I will teach at CNM; however, if one or both of the days I have been booked for are to teach the VNC1 class I will not waste anymore of my time.
What I have come to realise is that no matter how much of my free time I spare to improve the NC course, it has not improved in any way.
CNM is making a mockery of my profession and has displayed, time after time, a complete disrespect to my feedback and actual experience as a highly-qualified and experienced chef.
I would like to positively express my indignation in regard to the fees proposed for the position of DOS. Cleaners would find the package insulting enough, and to this day, this is something that I have yet to forget.
Many a time, I have sent feedback about recipes, that they are not professionally designed, that most are not made for class learning, that most do not work, and that they were added to the curriculum by unqualified people.
Then suddenly, I’m asked: “Have you had any experience teaching before?”
What I would like to know is who is actually qualified to run the course.
What I see is that the course was designed without any proper consultation and constructed in a way that it does not promote nor generate qualified chefs in any way.
The course is not a chef course.
It is at best a “healthy cooking” course [if that].
I was told, again today, that ALL of the recipes were tried and tested. I was never consulted.
This is not a personal remark, because like a little child I’m feeling left-out...
Who was qualified enough to conduct and agree on the recipes?
Students get to their final day and examination and I’m not there either. Who is qualified enough to mark, pass and give the diploma to the students?
On what criteria?
Most recipes do not work.
By simply reading the list of ingredients I know that.
Students without any experience can see that.
And someone, was qualified enough to incorporate the recipes that the student must practice with and learn from.
Comments from the class today were: “Why should we take our knives to the class, when all we do is blending stuff? We make soup, we make purée, and the blender do not work because they are too big for the little content the recipe is asking for.”
Students today showed up without full uniform, no knives and showed complete disregard to my remarks, during which time I have also asked to have a CNM representative to act as a witness.
The reason is that they feel mis-sold and for this reason feel entitled to come to class as if they were going to a playdate.
This denies me any authority as a lecturer and as a qualified professional [and, let me remind you that students are walking/dealing with weapons (sharp knives) in an over-crowded room]
Time is wasted and for this reason the negative atmosphere just makes the whole day a failure before it has even started.
Producing dishes that I would not feed a rabbit with (let’s keep it vegan, please), just makes the day a complete waste of my time.
In all honesty, my issue is not the fact that CNM is getting a bad reputation in the entire health and cooking community, but that my brand may be damaged in the wake.
I believe my brand to be going in a different direction, that the ethic of my brand is not in tune with that of CNM, and that I no longer want to go home stressed behind reason after a day in class.
If by the time April comes and the course has not improved to the level it is sold at, I will decline any further affiliation.
Response: (will keep this anonymous)
On 8 February 2018 at 17:47
"Thanks for your email.
Your concerns are noted.
We are actively working on improving the course and are nearly finished redoing the pantry. The course notes are currently being rewritten.
We also have two day s of recipe testing scheduled"
Sent: 08 February 2018 21:31
"As I am not sure, as of yet, who is responsible for "improving" the course, and to my understanding this person is not a chef, nor a qualified person to teach cooking; therefore, I will still stand to my last email.
It is clear that the slides were fully rewritten, and now are again. My question is still the same: who is qualified enough to write the course and add recipes, that students must learn from and practice with.
I am not quite sure I would like to pursue this contracting position as again I cannot be affiliated with a school that does not respect my profession.
Until I believe all has been done to make this course a success and be professional enough, I will not come back to my word.
Having girls in tears in class is not what I call professional.
Selling a course, for what it actually is, is not what I call professional."
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Olivier is a Michelin trained chef, a registered Naturopath and Nutritional Therapist, embracing fully his passion for good food and healthy eating.