Why did I become a Chef??
Liam McCarthy 10 years ago and now
For most people when someone asks you how you became the person you are its derived from going to college, university and knowing what you want to do from a young age…. I think that if you were to speak to any chef and ask why it would be the same as myself in a round about way.
I started my journey at the age of 17, haven been privately educated throughout my life I found myself at a cross roads. Going into my last year of 6th form, UCAS forms needing to be filled out, university’s to be chosen and the courses that you are meant to take for further education that will inevitably guide you on your course to a career that you spent your life progressing through.
The end game a big house, nice car, family and financial security – This was not the way my brain worked! Why pursue something I didn’t believe in? Why waste another five years to come out with a debt that would take so long to pay back? Now I am not saying that I don’t believe in further education from universities of course they have their benefits it just wasn’t for me.
I still remember having the conversation with my father in the kitchen, where he would always be making sure that the food, we had for dinner was fresh and homemade. He said simply “what do you enjoy doing?” My response football and cooking with you. That was it, that’s where it started.
Knowing that at the tender age of 17 I would never make it as a professional footballer I looked to the kitchen. My local college, a stone throws away had a catering course, an onsite restaurant where we would serve paying customers. It seemed like the universe was aligning me to go down that route. So, I did, signed up and enrolled. September came and I started my course, this is where I learnt my craft! First year was my NVQ in both front and back of house, second year we had the oppertuity to move into either sector. I chose the kitchen, I loved it!
There is nothing that will beat “service” wether its 15 tables or 100, the same feeling is always the same, It’s the butterflies not knowing what may happen. Your menu is there, the mise en place is done – what could go wrong?
I think over my 12-year career there is only a hand full of times where a service has gone smoothly – But that’s why we chefs love it! You need to be able to think on your feet make magic happen create, deliver and impress every time your doors open for a service.
So your reading this and thinking “sounds great, why isn’t he in the kitchen?”, don’t get me wrong I will happily jump into my chef whites and cook give me a time and a place – However, my time and experience has led me to want to make a change in the industry. That change you ask?
Simple The what, the why, the needs of head chefs when recruiting! We live in a world where money talks, but does it talk more than the basic human instinct of caring? The more you nurture and look after something the more it blossoms, that’s my philosophy lets look after the client, the candidate, the process of recruitment and they will in turn look after you.
Looking at ways of changing the minds of chefs who have through no fault of their own had bad experiences isn’t going to be easy, but I’ve always liked taking on a challenge! With the support of the team that I have behind me I truly believe that we can make a positive change.
Watch this space for how 😊
Written by Liam McCarthy