Phil wasn’t sure what he wanted to do after school, but when an opportunity to do a chef apprenticeship came up, he jumped at the chance. After training on the job, he’s now a fully qualified chef, whipping up delicious concoctions in kitchens (and castles!) across the country.
Name: Phil Parish
Industry: Hospitality, Leisure & Tourism
What is your job? Chef
How long have you been doing this job? Almost three years
Qualifications: Apprenticeship in Professional Cookery
1. What was your very first job?
I started a warehousing apprenticeship when I left school, however I did not finish the apprenticeship as that role was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
2. What did you want to do when you were at school?
I was not sure what I wanted to do when I left school.
3. How did you find out about the industry?
I was in the job centre and I met a Qube Learning staff member who told me about the traineeship programme and that they had a vacancy for a trainee chef that would go onto an apprenticeship. It sounded really interesting so I went to meet the manager and he agreed to take me on as a trainee.
4. How did you get there?
I started a seven-week traineeship where I was given full experience in the kitchen. I had a mentor who supported me in the workplace. He taught me from scratch how to prepare, cook and present food. I had a visit from my tutor once a week, when we worked on my Maths and English Functional skills.
I also did some extra food hygiene training which was beneficial. I learned a lot in those first seven weeks. I then progressed onto an apprenticeship, and I learned even more!
I completed my apprenticeship in June 2016 and have been working as a qualified chef ever since, at the same place where I started out. I started here with no knowledge of cooking whatsoever and the apprenticeship taught me not only the skills but also the knowledge I needed to build up a great career.
5. What is a typical day like?
I get the bus to work and from there I change into my chef whites so I am not bringing the outside into the kitchen. I will look and see if we have any events that I need to prep food for. If not then I will think of what specials we can have on the menu.
I am normally based at The Mansion which is based in a historic building in Roundhay Park in Leeds. But the company also caters for offsite events like weddings, so some weekends I may have to travel with the catering team to other venues like castles!
6. What’s the best thing about your job?
The best thing about my job is I get to travel across the country, see different places and cook in some amazing venues. Another thing is that it is always a challenge and doesn’t get boring because I am still constantly learning new skills and new ways of cooking food.
7. What is the most challenging thing about your job?
Learning new skills, having to work to time limits and being under pressure to prepare and serve to a high standard all the time.
8. What advice do you have for people who want to do what you do?
You need to be willing to put in hard work and long hours to thrive in this industry. You need to be able to stay calm when under pressure. You also need to be able to remember recipes and need to be willing to learn something new.
9. What things do you wish you’d known before starting your career?
Actually I’m glad that I came into the industry blind and got to learn all about it through my apprenticeship with Qube Learning.
10. Where would you like to be in 5 years?
In 5 years I’d like to be in charge of my own team, be respected in the business I work in and for the newer chefs to look up and learn from me.
Like Phil's story? Think you could make a career in the kitchen? Check out our guide to becoming a chef to find out how you can pursue a culinary career...