Hayden Groves, BaxterStorey

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 20th April 2017
Hayden Groves

Hayden Groves discusses his role as Executive Chef at BaxterStorey and his own inspirations with regards to pursuing a career as a Chef.

Name: Hayden Groves

Place of work: BaxterStorey

Role: Executive Chef

Bio: Hayden Groves is the former Craft Guild of Chefs National Chef of the Year, having won last year’s competition at the Restaurant Show in October. He is the Executive Chef at contract caterers BaxterStorey previously having worked as the Executive Chef for Lloyds of London. His previous awards include prestigious accolades in culinary competitions such as the Parade Des Chefs where he is a four-time Gold medallist.

Follow Hayden Groves on Twitter: @Hayden1974

Chef Skills

Hayden Groves takes us through his personal experiences whilst being in the Culinary Industry. These key skills that young Chefs and industry professionals learn as part of their basic training.

How long have you been in this role?

2 years.

What experience and how many years in your opinion would someone need to progress to the top level of the industry?

I could say 'define top level', you could run a very successful deli serving sandwiches or be a two or three-star Chef! To deliver a truly great experience in your chosen field can take several years to build confidence and your style as a cook. However these days it’s not just all about the end product. Key business skills like- personnel management, understanding commerciality, due diligence building a profile and a marketable brand, can take far longer. It’s really down to individuals but one thing is consistent: you never really stop learning.

What are your ultimate top five tips for someone looking to start a career in the industry?

 1. Work for great people, and when I say great, it doesn’t necessarily mean household names. Choose inspirational team leaders who have a proven track record in developing talent, this could be in any environment, be it food service, a gastro pub or a local restaurant.

 2. Absorb everything food related, from TV, magazines, books, wander around great food markets, talk to traders understand ingredients.

 3. Eat out, it doesn’t always have to be top end or on trend. It's far better to have a good experience and learn than going out and getting wasted on Jager bombs a kebab and a headache the next day.

4. Watch, listen and learn. Follow or get out the way…

5. Be physically fit, you’re going to need it; catering is a tough yet rewarding job.

Who are the key Chefs and restaurants that someone should be speaking to and trying to gain experience with?

The list is long and certainly not exhaustive, but if I had to pick just one, Gary Jones at Le Manoir would certainly be top of the list. He has a great way of developing and nurturing talent. Le Manoir is a top environment for this and you only have to look at the calibre of Chefs coming out of that kitchen.

There is real structure and commitment in training, clearly demonstrated recently with last year’s Craft Guild graduate awards. Half of the Young Chef of the Year finalists were from Le Manor and Nick the head Chef in his first competition has just made it into the National Chef of the Year finals.

However it’s not just about competitions, look how long Le Manoir as a boutique hotel has held 2 stars for its dining room!

What are you looking out for on a CV or in an interview if someone was applying to work with you?

In a CV for a Commis role, I am looking for a well typed, grammatically correct introduction, nothing more than to provoke that first meeting. If they have come from a good college then even better, but I will always look for attitude over experience; skills can be taught, however attitude you either have it or you don’t.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 20th April 2017

Hayden Groves, BaxterStorey