James Strawbridge, Posh Pasty Company

The Staff Canteen
James Strawbridge

James Strawbridge discusses his role as Executive development Chef at Posh Pasty Company and his own inspirations with regards to pursuing a career as a Chef.

Name: James Strawbridge

Place of work: Posh Pasty Company, Crantock Bakery and the Bake Factory - Cornwall, UK

Role: Executive development Chef and creative concept consultant

Follow James on Twitter here: @eco_boy

Bio: James is a development Chef, TV presenter and author. In 2013 he founded the Posh Pasty Company with his wife Holly, producing award-winning gourmet pasties. They travel the south-west in their vintage VW Food Truck, attending street festivals and supplying Selfridges Food Hall, The Eden Project and a host of beach cafes.

Chef Skills

James Strawbridge 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?

18 months.

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

In my opinion, a decent level of classical training is required for this role but also a wide exposure to different cooking techniques and flavours that you find outside the kitchen.

Market research and a good general knowledge about food will make the job easier.

I'd recommend a high level of technical qualifications if you are more interested in the food technician side of the role and a creative background if you want to reach the top level as a development Chef.

Having worked as a home economist for a spell or as a food stylist facilitates an understanding of how to present and market your food in conjunction with a sales team. This aspect of interfacing with a customer is key to success.

Finally, if you've worked formally as a Chef for at least a couple of years then this will also add to your credentials. The more experience the better - it's a very creative role and generating recipes takes attention to detail and commercial understanding of food combined with a knowledge of the wide spectrum of food trends.

What are your ultimate top five tips for someone looking to start a career in the hospitality (development) sector?

1. Watch TV and read magazines (staying tuned into the latest trends and  leading the way rather than copying too many other Chefs)

2. Travel to learn authentic flavours and cooking tips

3. Eat out whenever you can afford it 

4. Always consider the bottom line with your creations and try to manage budgets - tasty food doesn't have to cost a fortune

5. Shop locally and meet your suppliers face to face on their farms. cultivate a personal relationship with the local artisan producers, farmers and fishermen.

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

I think my advice would jump across styles of restaurants and try to get work with a range of different types of Chefs. Classical French, Korean, Mexican or Middle Eastern - mix it up and stay interested in the type of food you enjoy eating. Right now street food vendors and festival catering also show a good on-trend attitude. Avoid just becoming a kitchen clone and copying everyone else's style, instead develop your own individual fusion.

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

Time spent working in a kitchen environment, something interesting regarding travel and or different world cuisine, hopefully, some event catering to show some external influence and finally someone who is genuinely excited by creating new recipes.

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 27th April 2017

James Strawbridge, Posh Pasty Company