Learning to cook, in a way that will endorse recognition of your skill, is not easy. Even the very best acknowledge the work involved, from day one, to achieve greatness in the kitchen.
Marco Pierre White recently visited Greene King brewery to relate tales of his initial struggle for success, going from cleaning shoes, borrowing 50p bus fare from his father, a chef himself, to begin his illustrious career at the best restaurant in London. For the nine apprentices involved in the Greene King cookery course, this was a master class of the highest order.
Let your passion drive you
If you start to let questions like ‘what will my wages be?’ or ‘what are the hours?’ stand in your way, your probably not going to make it.
True greatness comes from focus of the job in hand, letting that be your only concern. That’s difficult to get your head around with the way the economy is stacked against that philosophy, but dedication will out. Sacrifices are called for every step of the way on the ladder to mastering the kitchen.
Class on your doorstep
When you’re first starting out, the road ahead seems long and tortuous – whatever aspects you can tick off your ‘to do’ sheet in the early stages is crucial to success.
Two of the key elements to establish this positive outlook are find the right establishment, and make it local:
- if the restaurant you’re working for is renowned, they will only employ top chefs in order to uphold their reputation, so you will be learning to cook from the best.
- having the establishment on your doorstep allows flexibility, not necessarily having to rely on transport (cutting your outgoings) and being able to get there in a flash if needed.
Forget the past – this is a new dawn
Hands-on experience is great, but you also need qualifications if you aspire to making it on your own, one day.
Once you’ve positioned yourself as best you can, see if the employer will allow you to go on day release to college, or has tailored cookery courses of their own which they’ll actively encourage you to attend.
This is where it goes back to your flexibility and willingness – if you show them talent and determination, they will do what they can to ensure you realise your potential as an investment in their business.
Get instant gratification and feedback
Great cooking is one of the few jobs where you can be judged there and then. If you’ve prepared a wonderful meal, your critics will let you know by what’s left on the plate.
Feedback is as important as any inherited skill – it not only can build your confidence, but also provides pointers as to where your own strengths lie in the cooking industry.
It’s all give and take
Cooks develop over time, picking up different styles from the variety of chefs for whom they’ll work.
Once you’re established, it will be your turn to become the Yoda to your own Jedis. Use your force to pass down what you have learnt on the way to success.
Cooking is very much a two way street and definitely a 9-5 career. Food is a marvellous tool to allow you to be creative and instantly impress your employers and your clients, alike.
With hard work, flexibility and an inner determination to succeed, ignoring the naysayers but accepting constructive criticism as it comes, you will succeed and be able to provide a masterclass of your own.