You did an apprenticeship. Can you tell us about your first day at college?
I remember when I started at college and my very first day, getting dressed up and making sure I was presentable but feeling really nervous, but those lovely nerves of excitement. It was such an exciting time going to college at what was the beginning of a wonderful journey.
What advice would you give to aspiring chefs?
I have always advised them to go to college. I think it is so, so important to have a proper qualification in our industry, in fact in any industry. College might seem unnecessary at times because you are learning so much in your workplace [on an apprenticeship] but it is 100 per cent necessary to do your qualification work.
What do you remember about your apprenticeship?
I absolutely loved my apprenticeship. An apprenticeship is amazing. It’s not just learning for skills, but it’s also life skills. That’s why I will always recommend an apprenticeship with a college. I remember my final exam, and what I had to cook. I don’t think I will ever forget that, but I passed with flying colours.
How do you cope with the pressure of running a busy kitchen?
There’s always pressure. If you don’t enjoy pressure, then maybe you’re not cut out to work in this industry. I enjoy sport and I find that is a great release and a way to work with pressure, even if it’s only 15-20 minutes of physical exercise it’s great for your mental health.
What do you look for when recruiting a new chef?
It’s difficult to put it in a nutshell, but above all it’s a passion and desire to learn. You never stop learning. I’m still learning at my age and that’s important. This industry is continuously changing and evolving and that’s what makes it so enjoyable.
What do you think of the chef training at WestKing?
This is one of the best colleges in London. The Roux family have been sending its apprentices here for 40 years. The people who train here achieve greatness. There are lots of opportunities in our industry. Whatever you choose to do always remember to keep smiling and enjoy it, and maybe one day some of you will be working alongside me.
Why is hospitality such a great sector to work in?
I love everything about hospitality. If you want to work in our industry, you should be proud of that because it has so much to give, and you get so much personal satisfaction. I love what I do every day. I get up, jump out of bed and really look forward to my day ahead because every day is different, and every day is a different challenge. There’s a job for everyone at every level. Whether you’re aiming to be a Michelin-star chef or front of house, a sommelier or a waiter working up to management, find a place where you are happy.