What does your job typically entail?
I run the pastry section at The Salt Room in Brighton, but I am about to move to London for the opening of our sister restaurant, The Coal Shed at One Tower Bridge. I am very lucky to be taking my team with me to London and they are all very eager to learn and be creative.
My typical day consists of making and prepping all the bread, desserts and afternoon teas for the restaurant. But will also include designing new dishes and the fun part – testing them!
How did you get into the OOH industry?
Being a chef was never in my plans, I have always been creative – I studied fashion and photography at A level. I was planning on going to university but took a gap year as the fees had just been increased and I wanted to make sure it was definitely what I wanted to do. I managed to land myself a job in a local restaurant in the meantime. I cooked my signature dessert for a friend who happened to be a chef, he offered me a job on the spot and I haven’t looked back since.
What’s your favourite part of your working day?
I really love the first half an hour because I am one of the first to arrive so I can start making the bread and drink my first coffee of the day while no one else is around. Having some peace and quiet in a hectic kitchen is hard to come by, so I really appreciate that first half an hour.
And your least favourite?
Winding down after service and trying to switch off. The job is pretty physical, is in a busy environment and has late finishes, so switching off at the end of the day can be tricky! Luckily I can walk home so I find that quite a good way to unwind and process the day.
What’s your favourite food and beverage?
Gin and avocado, not always together… though that works too! We recently had an amazing gin makers dinner at The Salt Room and it was really interesting learning about the different ways you can pair gin with food. We are also hosting a gin cocktail masterclass soon, which will be a great way to brush up my cocktail making skills.
And your least favourite?
Celery because I really dislike the strong taste; I don’t care that it is no calories and very healthy, it tastes awful. And tequila due to past experiences… enough said!
What is the biggest factor currently affecting the OOH industry?
There has always seemed to be a lack of chefs in the industry and this doesn’t seem to be improving; in fact, if anything, it is getting worse. We are really fortunate to have a great team who are extremely talented at both The Salt Room and The Coal Shed, but other restaurants aren’t so lucky.
What one piece of advice would you offer someone working in the OOH industry?
Go for it! If you are not 100% sure, trial something and see how you like it. It will soon become apparent if the industry is for you. Passion is the most important thing. I wasn’t sure, but as soon as I stepped foot in a professional kitchen I knew this was how I wanted to spend my working days, and I have never looked back.