10 Minutes With: Richard Liversidge, Chef trainer, Corbin & King

The  Staff Canteen

Richard Liversidge is a chef trainer at Corbin & King in London.

It takes courage to change career after several years in the same industry, but it certainly seems to have paid off for chef trainer Richard Liversidge so far!

From working at the likes of The Wolseley and The Delaunay, Richard decided he wanted to develop and train a new generation of chefs and became a chef trainer at Corbin & King. He spoke to The Staff Canteen about career changes, his new apprenticeship scheme and how he thinks it can help tackle the chef shortage.

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Richard Liversidge

He started his career as an electrical engineer for Jaguar but decided his calling was to work as a chef. 

He said: Having been in the same job for 25 years, I thought it was time to try something different and test myself in a different industry. Food had always been a passion and it probably would be something I’d have regretted not trying if I didn’t give it a go. Luckily, it’s worked out!”

He began his training at Leith’s Cookery School where he received his first grounding in cooking. 

“I really enjoyed my time at Leith’s. I made some really good friends there and contacts within the industry. I’m still in touch with the school and help arrange work experience placements within Corbin & King for the current students.”

Having worked in a couple of different kitchens, after undertaking his training Richard took up the role of a commis chef at The Wolseley before joining The Delaunay as a sous chef. 

He explained: “I think the training I received through Corbin & King helped me with the sous chef role through management training and mentoring.”

Richard is now a chef trainer and he is employed for a training provider called NCAL but works solely for Corbin & King. He says that he wanted to ‘give something back’ to the organisation after receiving ‘a lot of help and training’ from them.

He enjoys passing on his knowledge to junior staff members and seeing them develop. One of the ways that he is achieving this is by designing and developing a new apprenticeship scheme.

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Creating dishes that have an impact

“It not only fulfils the requirements of the standard but also helps prepare people for life in a kitchen and to go on and have successful careers in our industry," said Richard. "It also involves working with suppliers and other people in hospitality to find interesting and educational ways in which to broaden the apprentice’s knowledge and appreciation for the wider industry.”

He added: “The scheme runs between 12 to 14 months and involves weekly evening training sessions in a kitchen that we have adapted for teaching. We aim to cover different skills each week with small groups of apprentices.

Alongside this, we have masterclasses run by experts in their field. We have devised the masterclasses in partnership with some of Corbin & King’s suppliers such as, fishmongers, butchers, vegetable suppliers, bakers and we have even worked alongside chefs from other restaurants who specialise in game.”

There are various apprenticeship schemes out there, so why did Richard feel it was necessary to set up a completely bespoke  scheme?

“It was so that we could not only meet the needs of the apprenticeship standard, but also the needs of C&K restaurants. 

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The apprenticeship scheme
is helping prepare chefs for the 
professional kitchen

“Many people are more practical and enjoy ‘doing’ more than sitting in a classroom or lecture theatre studying.  Apprenticeships allow for this kinaesthetic learning and offer tremendous experience ‘on-the-job’ while you are studying and learning too; this is unique to the chef-apprenticeship standards that have launched this year.

While there is still a requirement for 20% of the apprentice’s time to be ‘off-the-job’, this does not have to be off-site, so we have been able to develop a truly bespoke and varied program.”

Anyone can apply for the Corbin & King apprenticeship and you don’t necessarily have to be a school leaver to take part. Any ages are welcome, and you don’t have to have a strong background or qualification in cooking either. As Richard says, ‘all you need is the right attitude and willingness to learn.’

He said: “You can have all the theory in the world, but you also need to be given the skills to put it into practice.

"Also, not everyone is lucky enough to be able to take a year or more away from a work environment to learn all the theory. An apprenticeship offers the best of both worlds”

The C&K mantra: ‘hire for will, train for skill’ is a huge part of the scheme, which Richard hopes will help tackle the issue of the chef shortage.

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Getting stuck in

“If we can inspire people with the right attitude to join our wonderful industry we can give them the skills that they need. We need a way to engage with people and offer something different to get them involved in hospitality. The opportunity for formal training and a nationally recognised qualification is one way of doing this.”

He added: "We say if you can be successful at Corbin & King, then it will enable you to go on and work anywhere in the UK and internationally, like many of our alumni have done.”

Richard believes 'we owe it to the apprentices to get it right' and said: "The foundation of their careers is in our hands. A successful apprenticeship scheme will hopefully encourage more people to be chefs and give them the skills and confidence to stay in the industry and have a successful career.”

He added: "We have created a programme entirely bespoke to us, meaning our apprentices start their hospitality careers with the knowledge to help them succeed in Corbin & King, as well as the wider industry." 

Interested in becoming an apprentice? Please email the recruitment team at Corbin & King for further details. 

By Emma Harrison


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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 12th October 2018

10 Minutes With: Richard Liversidge, Chef trainer, Corbin & King