If you’re considering an apprenticeship to become a chef, you’ll be in good company. Did you know that Ainsley Harriet, Gordon Ramsay, Clare Smyth and Monica Galetti all started their chef careers with an apprenticeship?
Ainsley has been a household name since starting his career in 1988, he’s famed for his show, Ready, Steady, Cook as well as the infamous Can’t Cook, Won’t Cook, has twelve cookery books published as well as presenting over 14 different cookery television shows! More recently Ainsley appeared on Strictly Come Dancing where he was paired with Natalie Lowe and was voted off by public to finish in twelfth place!
But Ainsley hasn’t always had a glittering showbiz career, he started his career at Westminster Kingsway College and then went on to study as an apprentice in Verrey’s restaurant in London’s bustling West End, and later worked as a commis chef.
Gordon Ramsey isn’t just famous for Hell’s Kitchen, his notorious potty mouth or his infamous “panini-head” meme, he’s one of the most famous British chefs as well as being a restauranteur, writer, food critic and TV personality. Ramsay described his entrance into hospitality as a “complete accident.” After realising his knee injury would mean the end of his football career, he began to take his culinary career seriously and enrolled with North Oxfordshire Technical College to study hotel management. 30 years later Ramsay now owns 40 restaurants that have a combined 22 Michelin Stars!
If you’re a fan of Masterchef or Saturday Kitchen, you’ll know Clare as a familiar face. Born in Ireland, Clare started her career as a waitress in a local restaurant, which then inspired her to become a chef. Clare left school at sixteen to study catering at Highbury College in Hampshire. While her Clare served an apprenticeship at Grayshott Hall, Surrey.
Clare was Chef Patron at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay from 2012-2016 and became the first British female chef to hold and retain 3 Michelin start. In 2013 she won the Chef of the Year award and in 2015 achieved a perfect score in the Good Food Guide. In 2017 Clare opened her own restaurant, Core, in London and this year it was awarded two Michelin stars in the Michelin Guide.
After completing her apprenticeship, Monica worked at Lower Hutt restaurant Timothy’s and she began to look for a position in London by sending her CV to top restaurateurs. The first offer she received was from Michel Roux Jr – a beginning position as first commis at his two-Michelin-starred restaurant Le Gavroche, well below her position in Wellington as chef de partie. However, she accepted the offer and moved to London in 1999. She worked rapidly through the sections of the kitchen and became senior sous-chef, a position she held until 2015. She was the first woman to hold such a senior position at the restaurant.
While working for Roux, she launched, and was Head Chef of, the restaurant Le Gavroche des Tropiques in Mauritius. She has been a judge on the BBC series MasterChef: The Professionals since 2009, as well as a presenter on other food-related television programmes. In January 2017, it was announced that along with her husband David she will be opening a new restaurant in London called ‘Mere’.