How my Journey started
My journey as a Chef started a long time ago, I was a youngster and some of my earliest memories came from Hotels and Restaurants my parents worked in. My career to date has been an amazing, challenging, awe-inspiring, and testing. One with highs and lows like the tides. It has taken me to places beyond my wildest dreams from the Highlands of Scotland to the tropics of Thailand, down the globe to the Roof of Africa and the sand-swept deserts of the Middle East.
As it goes, I was around 8 years old and I recall standing in the kitchen at my Mums work, making scones. being surrounded by her brigade of Professional Chefs in crisp pressed white coats with tall white hats. The buzz of service, the Aromas of Sunday Roasts with all the trimmings and decadent Desserts all headed for the buffet. The organized chaos of all the stations working together with the constant milling around of the Kitchen Porters all towards one goal, all orchestrated by the Head Chef. I was hooked, I had found my calling…
It all started when I flew the nest at 16. I left home – a young man ready to take on the world.
Looking back, I laugh at how headstrong I was, and at how independent I thought I was! The road ahead was long and arduous with many lessons to be learned. In a way, I’m glad Hospitality was in my blood. The Kitchen has a particularly warm, unjudging and welcoming feeling to it, a place you can go for hours on end, leave all your baggage at the door, pour out your creativity and hone your skills as a Chef. The comradery you find with Chefs’ is like none other, we are all there for one reason – to cook, to create and to push the boundaries.
So, I left home with a duffel bag headed for Suvarnabhumi International Airport with a few dollars in my pocket and no real plan, except that I was Headed to London. After working a few random dead-end jobs, I realized I wasn’t getting anywhere. I wasn’t able to settle. So I looked into the belly of the beast – hospitality and got my first real kitchen job. As a Kitchen Hand/Kitchen porter or as some would claim the most important person in the Brigade, the Sculler.
By no means was it Glamorous, I scrubbed black, burnt molten caramelized gunk from the bottom of pots and pans, scrubbing floors and washed walls. Organized storerooms dealt with abuse hurled in my direction from the chefs, picked up basic prep jobs from the junior chefs when they were slacking off and in the weeds, occasionally I had salad bowls and plates thrown at me. I pushed through, every day was a challenge – I challenged myself in every task. To be faster than the day before. After a few weeks, I was proving my worth. I kept my head down and learned two very important words, Oui (YES) CHEF!
All the while learning crucial skills; speed, efficiency and organization and how to multi-task. It was tiring but worth it. Kitchens are bizarre environments, they can be brutal, yet rewarding. It’s nothing like they portray on Television- It’s hot, it’s fast, no second takes or “pan outs”. The shifts are long. You’re on your feet for hours on end, your body takes a beating. It’s a buzz, your blood is pumping, you’re hot, it’s exhilarating! At the end of day, it’s all worth it, when you make that perfect Soufflé or have a flawless service, at the end of the night, after the stoves are off and clean, fridges restocked and prep lists are done, you get to sit back with your Crew of misfits and enjoy a cold bevy. We are a band of brothers.
I remember the moment like it was yesterday, that I was called onto the line by Chef. It was either out of desperation or necessity “Oi you mate, get over here and whisk this”. After months of grinding away behind a sink I was earning my stripes, I was being noticed and proving my worth… or so I thought, let me tell you it only got harder! It takes hard work, dedication, self-conviction sacrifice’s and a drive bigger than the biggest wood in your golf bag, to become a Great Chef. At that point in my life; it’s what I needed, I needed something to focus on – I was like a hungry dog and dedicated.
And that was my first taste that’s where it all started for me…
One thought on “How my Journey started”