Joe Hepworth, Hepworth's kitchen

The Staff Canteen
Joe Hepworth

Joe Hepworth discusses his role as Owner at Hepworth’s Kitchen and his own inspirations with regards to pursuing a career as a Chef.

Name: Joseph Hepworth

Place of work: Hepworth’s Kitchen

Role: Owner

Bio: Joe has owned Hepworth’s Kitchen for seven years but has been passionate about cooking since an early age. Before opening Hepworth’ Kitchen, Joe worked with some of the country’s leading restaurants, including stages at Michelin Star restaurants The Waterside Inn, Hibiscus, and Petrus. Joseph has also worked under Anthony Flynn (Anthony’s Restaurant) and Albert Roux.

Chef Skills

Joe Hepworth 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 worked there?

I started Hepworth’s Kitchen seven years ago. I felt that I had enjoyed my time working in other kitchens but wanted to be my own boss, allowing me to explore my creativity and also maximise my earning potential. Since then I have also opened Hepworth’s Deli and am currently putting together funding for a restaurant, to be called Hepworth’s. 

What attracted you towards cooking?

I was always good at cooking for people - when I was a kid I would cook tea for all my mates - and charge them! I’m also very determined, a trait which comes in handy in this industry.

What inspired you to go into catering?

After working with top Chefs such as Michel Roux and doing several work stages. Watching Gordon Ramsay’s Boiling Point on the TV in my bedroom when I was 12 years old when I should have been asleep. Also, Marco  Pierre White, I’m from Leeds so he’s definitely an inspiration

How different is catering (in terms of working style/ work environment)  when compared to a restaurant?

For me, it has to be being my own boss and being able to control the business a lot more. Providing private dinners for clients allows me to have a pre-determined menu arranged with no wastage, also staff costs and overheads are reduced.

Having a lot more interaction with the customer is also different. In previous kitchen roles I have had little to no contact with the customers, but with my current business, I have to liaise with the client from their initial contact to arranging the menu to then dealing with them on the evening of their event.

What experience and how many years would be needed for someone who aspires to be at the top level of the industry?

I think that a good knowledge of basics followed by work in a variety of different kitchens is important. I see some young Chefs wanting to be Head Chefs at 21/22, in my opinion, no 21 year old Chef has the ability to be a Head Chef at any level. It takes time to develop the knowledge and a cooking style before a brigade of Chefs under you will take you seriously. Learn well, complete stages, experience as much as you can and keep up with what is happening. Eat out a lot, listen, and forget about earning a fortune, money comes with experience.

What are you looking out for in a CV/interview if someone is applying to work with you?

That’s a good question. Recently I have seen some great CVs and some terrible ones. To start with I would say make sure you have read the job criteria and make sure you fulfill them. A variety of experience, consistency in job roles, staying in places for longer than two months at a time. Good references.

If someone wants to have a career in catering, what are some key factors they must keep in mind?

Always be prepared to continue learning. Don’t get caught up in trends. Again don’t be motivated by money and have a passion for the industry and the money will come.

What are your Top 5 tips for someone looking to start a career in the Industry?

  1. Be prepared to work long, antisocial hours for little pay at the start.
  2. Look forward to working long, antisocial hours for better pay in a few years.
  3. Listen to those around you with more experience.
  4. Preparation is key to everything.
  5. Don’t bother with college, it gives an unrealistic perception of the industry.

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 11th May 2017

Joe Hepworth, Hepworth's kitchen