Monday 6th December 2021
We sat down with our newly qualified Commis Chef in our staff canteen to find out a bit more about him and whether he would recommend life as an apprentice…
‘I’ve now worked in the Yeo Valley canteen for 2 years overall. I enjoy working here, it’s different everyday! I could be making lunch for staff or prepping for events although the days have slowed down in pace slightly now that we aren’t open to the public for lunch.
At events, my job is to make sure everyone is happy and full! Working with the chefs here has been invaluable as they have such a broad range of experience, and all have different expertise, so I’ve learned loads of things from each one.
I loved working in ‘the sauce section’ which was all about food presentation and communicating with the chefs to ensure consistency. I also really enjoy working on the server at lunch so I can talk to the staff and have that connection with them all. There is a wide range of jobs at Yeo Valley so there’s always a different member of staff to chat to!
A real challenging aspect of my job is when someone has allergens that we need to consider and build a menu around. Someone can have a few allergens all at once so figuring out recipes can be hard. Attention to detail is always important but ensuring you keep in mind what a person can or can’t have makes it even more so.
In my spare time, I like playing 6-a-side football and I enjoy watching matches – Bristol Rovers is my team which is a bit awkward as Yeo Valley sponsors Bristol City!!
I did cooking as part of my GCSEs and knew straight away that I wanted to be a chef – it was my favourite subject. You can make your own recipes and it’s a very versatile career. If I wasn’t a chef, I’d love to be a pilot. I used to be in the RAF cadets, so I’ve done flying lessons in the past. A bit different, but I didn’t like heights that much so it probably wouldn’t work out. I think I’ll stick with food!
Doing an apprenticeship meant I gained a lot more from my course compared to a traditional collage course. Not only was I being taught the basics at college, but I was also learning more from my work in the kitchen. . Being in amongst it all allowed me to apply my course principles to real life in the chef world. When I was at work in the kitchen, I could ask the chefs any questions I had and they didn’t have other students to worry about! Being able to earn my own money whilst studying felt empowering as well and kept me motivated to continue working hard.
My advice for anyone considering an apprenticeship would be to go for it! Just do it, you won’t regret it if you want proper exposure to the real job. More real-world experience with fussy eaters or people with allergies was invaluable to my learning. A good thing to do if you’re preparing to start an apprenticeship in hospitality would be to start thinking about your menu, it shouldn’t be the same thing every day so you don’t get bored and you keep your customers interested.
I also like the ethos at Yeo Valley, I love that we work with organic produce and find local food and suppliers and then prepare everything from scratch from peeling potatoes to making brownies. I eat a lot more organic food myself now – I can really tell it is organic, it almost looks nicer in my opinion! I think more about nature since working here, I care more for it. Thinking about nature subconsciously seeps into everything like using less water and always turning the lights off!
We’re now recruiting for a chef – click here for more details!