So you want to be a chef? The chances are, if you have ever watched a cookery programme or had to make a roast dinner you will have an idea of just how stressful things can get.
Training is a must, but to reassure you that it’s not impossible, we thought we would take a look back at some of the cookery world’s biggest names, and their journey’s to the top.
Following a serious knee injury aged 19 Ramsay’s dreams of playing professional football were over. Going back to school to study hotel management, Ramsay describes his decision to enter catering college as ‘a complete accident.’ Probably the best accident he ever made, Ramsay would then move to London and work in a series of top restaurants, before joining Marco Pierre White at Harvey’s. Two years later, Ramsay would work for the legendary Albert Roux in Mayfair, before going with Roux to work in a ski resort in France. In 1993, Ramsay was made head chef at La Tante Claire in Chelsea, which would win a Michelin star fourteen months later.
Marco Pierre White
His father was an English chef and a young Marco made the decision to follow in his father’s footsteps, leaving school without any qualifications aged 16. White moved to London and completed his classical training with Albert and Michel Roux at Le Gavroche. In 1987, he opened Harvey’s in Wandsworth common, where he won his first Michelin star. He was awarded his second eleven years later and then his third a few years after this. At aged 33, Marco Pierre White was the first British chef to be awarded three Michelin stars.
Marcus Wareing’s first job was working with his father, a fruit and potato merchant who supplied ingredients to schools for their dinners. The only boy in his secondary school home economics class, Wareing did not let the pressure get to him, and went on to complete a three year City and Guilds qualification in catering. Working in The Savoy at aged 18, he left in 1993 to join Albert and Michel Roux at Le Gavroche (there seems to be a pattern here), where he would meet Gordon Ramsay. He would go on to work with Ramsay for 15 years, often referred to as his protégé, before their famous falling out. Winning his first Michelin star aged 25, he is now chef patron of his own double Michelin star winning restaurant ‘Marcus’ in Knightsbridge. Find out what happened when he spoke to our friends over at Hotcourses.
The name that appears time and time again in all these success stories, French born chef Albert Roux opened Le Gavroche with his younger brother Michel in 1967. The first restaurant in Britain to win its first, second and third Michelin star, in 1984 the brothers set up the Roux Scholarship, enabling up and coming chefs to get a head start in the industry. His son, Michel Roux jr is also a two star Michelin chef and has now taken over the running of La Gavroche.
Just because we couldn’t leave it all to the boys, last but not least on our list is Delia Smith. One of the worlds’ best selling cookery authors, with 21 million copies sold worldwide, her back to basics style of cooking is her claim to fame. Her first job as a chef was aged 21, in a tiny restaurant. Fast forward a few years and Smith has worked as a cookery writer for the Daily Mail, the Evening Standard and The Radio Times and has a number of successful TV shows under her belt.
So what are you waiting for? Find your perfect chef training course and get cooking – who knows where you might end up!