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Josh Rideout - From Commis Chef to Head Chef

Josh Rideout, Head Chef

Tell us a bit about yourself...

I'm Josh Rideout, 27 years of age and I finished my Commis Chef Level 2 apprenticeship in February 2020. Working for Young’s I was originally from, ‘The Waverley’ in Bognor Regis where I started as a Commis Chef, however I then went on to take over as Head Chef at the ‘Dolphin inn’ in Betchworth.

What did you want to get out of the apprenticeship?

Going into the apprenticeship I wanted two things; to build my confidence and to learn as much as possible. Throughout the course my confidence grew and with each masterclass I would take away new recipes, ideas and skills. I enjoyed sharing new knowledge with the rest of the kitchen team and the most memorable example would be when I showed the team how to make sourdough, which we went onto add to our menu. I learnt a wide variety of culinary skills and techniques through the monthly masterclasses, which ranged from vegetable proteins to meat, offal and furred game. I also really enjoyed learning about things I had never done before such as making fresh pasta, baking bread and butchery.

Has it lived up to your expectations?

For me the course offered more than just the qualification. Going up to Wandsworth once a month for the masterclasses was a great experience. I would tweak my recipes on the way and read up on what we were doing for the day. I met other chefs from all over the company and have built lifelong friendships. The support from my trainers was also amazing and really helped to open up doors to new and exciting opportunities.

What is an average day in the life like for you?

Day to day life for me consists of arriving early, cooking fresh exciting recipes in a clean and safe environment. The one part of my job that I enjoy the most is making menus, be it for a buffet, brunch or for an event. I love the creative aspect and being able to turn it into a reality.

Do you feel you're supported and respected by others in the company?

I’ve been fully supported by every level of management in the company. From my general managers, operations manager, executive chef, development chef, trainers, head chefs and chefs, I could never thank all of them enough for how much they’ve helped and supported me in my journey so far. Now I’ve finished the apprenticeship I aim to keep growing and leaning, taking on level 3 is tempting, although my focus for the next year will be The Dolphin; building a strong team; menus; and setting record weeks.

How would you say an apprenticeship compares to university?

I find it hard to compare an apprenticeship with university as they are so different, however I would say a good 70% of people I know who have been to university came out with ‘normal’ jobs and not even in the industry they went to university to learn for in the first place. With an apprenticeship you learn on the job whilst also building on industry experience, which is highly desirable to employers.

Would you recommend an apprenticeship to anyone who is unsure on their next career step?

I have and will continue to encourage people to take the apprenticeship route. For people who are keen and passionate about growing and leaning it’s a no-brainer. The more you put in the more you get out: I started out as a Commis Chef and I am now in my 2nd Head Chef position, all within 2 years. In my experience, a lot of young people aren’t too sure what they want to do and find themselves in the catering industry. In my opinion, even if you don’t want to be in the industry long-term and have no idea what career you want, taking the apprenticeship will mean you’ll be paid whilst learning and finish with a nationally recognised qualification.

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