Former WestKing apprentice chef becomes co-owner of Barnet restaurant - CCCG
Accessibility & Translation

Former WestKing apprentice chef becomes co-owner of Barnet restaurant

A former Westminster Kingsway College apprentice chef has told of his excitement at becoming the co-owner of restaurant in Barnet.

Former WestKing apprentice chef becomes co-owner of Barnet restaurant

Gerry Sands, 21, has teamed up with Louis Loizou to run the Odos Mediterranean Kitchen, which prides itself on quality ingredients, simple preparation and personal service. 

The restaurant, which was established in 2019, is ranked ninth out of 102 restaurants on Tripadvisor and has won rave reviews online from critics and diners.

Gerry first met Louis while helping in his kitchen on days off from his Royal Academy of Culinary Arts (RACA) apprenticeship with WestKing at the Corinthia Hotel in central London.

He spent three months at The Samuel, a fine dining restaurant in Copenhagen, before joining Odos in January 2022 where he began working front of house and gained an interest in business management.

“Louis took me under his wing a showed me everything he knew,” said Gerry.

“A few months into working at Odos he pulled me aside, as he could see the customers had taken a liking to me, and said, ‘From tomorrow I want you to stop dressing like a waiter and dress like you own the place,’ and nine months later the opportunity came up to be a shareholder in the business.

“Louis is the ultimate restaurant operator, creating an environment that customers will come to two or three times a week or just pop in for a coffee and a chat. He has a fantastic reputation in the business having successfully set up and sold eight restaurants prior to Odos. 

“Owning a restaurant has always been a dream of mine. I love being able to serve food I am proud of and creating something special that others can enjoy. I couldn’t be more excited to be a partner.”

Gerry and Louis have big plans for the restaurant. It is currently undergoing a refurbishment over the summer with a new menu being launched when it reopens at the end August.

Gerry said: “My passion for cooking all started with a love for all things food. I would cook with my mum and grandma in the kitchen every chance I could. Stepping into a professional kitchen at the age of 13, I knew I wanted to make a mark on the industry from an early age.”

One of Gerry’s highlights during his apprenticeship was meeting King Charles and Queen Camilla, then HRH Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, at the 40th anniversary of RACA in May 2021.

“WestKing gave me the opportunity to be able to work for and meet many incredible individuals who have guided me to where I am today,” said Gerry.

“The knowledge I gained from attending on my apprenticeship will continue to be invaluable to me for the rest of my career. My lecturers gave me the freedom to be creative and guided me in the right direction, entering me into competitions and giving me amazing opportunities.”

“With its incredible facilities and the amazing experience of the chef lecturers, I couldn’t think of a better place to have studied than WestKing.”

WestKing’s Victoria Centre is home to the college’s renowned School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts, which provides high quality training for a wide range of careers across the sector.

Sharon Barry, Head of School for Hospitality and Culinary Arts Apprenticeships, said: “We are extremely proud of Gerry’s achievements and wish him every success in his new adventure.

“During his time at the college, Gerry was always ahead of the game and went from strength to strength as he progressed through the prestigious RACA apprenticeship programme.

“It is no surprise that he is now a co-owner of a restaurant. I have no doubt that he will continue to move forward and support and develop talented chefs coming through his business.”  

Find out more about hospitality and culinary arts courses and apprenticeships and apply here.


Queen's Award for Enterprise