Here are 14 golden nuggets of advice from celebrity chefs, people in our beloved industry and recent college graduates who were in your position not too long ago. It might even be advice, that will change you life…
1. Katie Mulliss, Restaurant Manager of Tom Kerridge’s the Hand and Flowers- Lead by example.
Everything has to come from the top, work ethic, team work and that’s massively important and so the team sees what you’re doing and for me, no job is too little for someone. Morale boosting make sure your team feel the energy and positivity, I think spreading work ethic and positive morale.
2. Lidia Pozzuto, 19, Pastry Chef at the Ritz
My advice to others, would depend on the person, but college is a great starting point to gain the basics and the skills to find out who you want to be as a chef. College was how I got my work experiences, so I don’t know what I’d be able to get those connections without college. My advice to those who want to work in hospitality is that; it’s one of those industries you can do so much in it, and there are so many pathways. As you build your experience and your knowledge, you get to climb the ladder. But it’s one of those jobs you can always get better, you’ll never be at the top and I like that about it.
3. Maxx Webb, 20, Pastry Chef at Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons
It’s not an easy journey, it’s not, but the rewards are definitely worth it, it’s one of the most rewarding jobs you can get yourself into, its long hours but, it’s worth it, you get to work and cam meet some of the most amazing people. There’s always something you can learn, that’s the beauty of this job, every day is a learning day and you can always find something new, which is brilliant.
4. Rebbeca Swan, 20, Chef at Tom Kerridge’s Pavilion Club Knightsbridge
Aim high and just go for it. At times it may be tough but keep working hard and you will achieve anything you dream for.
5. Yuhan Li, 20, Chef at The Pigeon, Hackney
You definitely need a passion for it and you need to work hard as a chef, because it is long hours. But don’t quit and it will come
6. Maisie, 21, Pastry Chef at Dinner by Heston
Do not shy away from anything, if you feel like you want to take that route, put your whole heart into it and you can’t go wrong, everyone at college (Westminster Kingsway College) who put in 100% , they got that out of it.
7. Stefano Palumbo, 20, Chef at Ware Café (the family business)
My advice to other aspiring chefs would be; stay focused, it does get tough and tiring but it will all pay off and bring a notepad!
8. Tom Lodge, 16, Chef at The Gaff, Abergavenny
Get yourselves in a Kitchen, don’t rely on culinary college alone and just the college based cooking course. I’d always go for an apprenticeship if I could, because cooking in a college is very different to cooking in a fast paced kitchen, with 6 foot men that are massive, towering over you and sweating, you need to get used to that environment if you want to succeed.
9. Unaisa Hussein, 18, Young Pastry Chef of the Year 2021
The same advice I’d give myself but you should always take big steps. Take baby steps at the start, but when life throws an opportunity at you- grasp it! With both hands and don’t let it go. The competition was in front of my eyes, If I didn’t take that chance I wouldn’t of known I was capable of doing something like this, you should always take a chance on yourself, if you don’t take it, you’ll never know. I’m always surprising myself, and pastry and with cooking you can’t stop learning every day
10. Richard Wheatley, 31, Ex-yacht chef, now business owner of ‘Bao Bar’ and ‘Sobremesa’ Newcastle
Get your foundations of cooking first, a lot of people go away too early and haven’t got the skill set, need to know the pastry side too, all-rounder, French training is ideal. And learn everything you can and the foundations of cooking until you go away because you won’t progress when you go away [working on the yachts]. You have to be hardworking, be a yes man, get your head down and graft.
11. Nick Vadis, 60s, Culinary Director of Compass Group
The whole idea of ‘earn while you learn’, get a good job and get a good apprenticeship, to me this is the way forward. Could I see myself doing anything else? Absolutely not. No regrets, the biggest and best thing I ever did was go and say to somebody I don’t like fixing helicopters to pursue cheffing and stay true to your heart.
12. Mark Patana, 26, Young Sommelier of the Year, Sommelier at Core by Clare Smyth
If you want to be sommelier you have to be very passionate about it, it’s not just pouring wine it’s a lot of hard work and commitment and sacrifice. And networking helps, and if you need help from others don’t be shy. They’re very supportive because they’ve been there and there’s nothing more genuine than that. People are willing to help you to strive and be better every day.
13. Gregory Doyen, 37, Owner of GD Sweet Concepts and Pastry Chef
You should love what you’re doing. Don’t count your money at the beginning because you don’t make anything, and find someone you love like a mentor and enjoy what they do. Follow social media but don’t be fooled, because people look on the social media make it look fast and easy. Be calm but be careful, don’t rush- because it takestime.
14. Judy Joo, 46, Celebrity Chef and Restauranteur
Just don’t give up, it’s a lot of hard work. And I think, find yourself a mentor early on and work hard, because everything in life is hard work. And to go for what you want and ask for it. Because nothing is going to fall in your lap.