Byron Lang, Guest Services Director, Gordon Ramsay Group

The Staff Canteen
Byron Lang

Byron Lang discusses his role as Guest Services Director at Gordon Ramsay Group and his own inspirations with regards to pursuing a career as a Chef.

Name: Byron Lang

Place of work: Gordon Ramsay Group

Role: Guest Services Director

Bio: Byron’s hospitality career started at The Ivy, before he moved to The Wolseley and then St Alban to work for Chris Corbin and Jeremy King. In 2010 he became head maitre d'hotel for the Gordon Ramsay Group, before becoming the general manager at Balthazar Restaurant in 2013. He moved back to the Gordon Ramsay Group six months later to take the position of guest services director. 

Follow Byron on Twitter here: @ByronLang1

Chef Skills

Byron Lang 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.

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

Try to gain some work experience. If you’re at school, college or university, try and find a part time job in the hospitality industry. If you’re not studying, try and gain some work experience at a local restaurant.

This will help you find the type of job that best suits your personality and strengths. Whether it be in the kitchen, on the restaurant floor, the bar, wine team or front desk.

Don’t be afraid to start at the bottom. Even if you have some previous experience in the sector, it is still sometimes better to take an entry level job with your chosen employer. It is always going to hold you in good stead to really understand all the levels of your profession. It will also help you in the future when you find yourself managing people at all levels.

Speak to people in the industry and try and seek their advice. If someone has spent 2 or 3 years climbing the ladder, they are going to be able to offer some invaluable insights into how they got there.

Research your potential employer. If you are applying for a job, I’d highly recommend you find out as much out about them as possible. Use their website and internet searches to build a good picture of the company’s portfolio of restaurants, who their key staff are, and the style of food and service they deliver. This will let them know you are both knowledgeable and keen.

Be prepared to work hard and to be dedicated to your role. Your commitment and hard work will pay off in the long run. Choose an employer who will recognise your enthusiasm. Check they have a good track record for training and development.

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

I look for simplicity, clarity and career ambition in a CV. The best CVs list your previous employment with job title and dates of employment clearly detailed.

It always rings alarm bells if a CV has too many short term jobs, so think twice before chopping and changing employers. Commitment, development and longevity with an employer make the most attractive candidate.

In an interview, I look primarily for personality. If a candidate is warm, friendly and engaging, I feel confident that they will fit into the team more easily. A happy and hard working environment is important to maintain, so personality plays a big part in this.

A good knowledge of the restaurant that the candidate is interviewing for is key. It’s always a pleasure to meet someone who’s done their research. It shows me they are professional and care about their career path.

Do you regularly take on young Chefs? How many years’ experience would they need when applying?

At Gordon Ramsay Group we have an apprentice scheme. Each year we take on a new group of college students, some as young as 16. While they continue their studies they work almost full time in one of our kitchens. They are mentored and developed by their respective head Chefs, our HR team and their college tutors. It has proved to be a great initiative and we have really enjoyed working with these students.

If you are not at college and are seeking to join one of our kitchen teams, it is also possible. We see individuals join us as kitchen porters and prep Chefs who are keen to learn and develop. If you show us your commitment to work hard and move up the ladder, we have all the to

Have you noticed any changes in applicants or changes in the amount of new Chefs applying for roles with you?

We always have a healthy amount of applicants for positions in the kitchen. It is important that you apply for a job that you really believe you are qualified for. More and more we see CVs where the candidate has only just started out in the industry but is applying for a more senior role than they are experienced for. Job progression is important, but candidates need to be realistic about what they can manage. I always say, don’t run before you can walk.

The industry in London is at an all-time high at the moment. This makes the hospitality sector a far more desirable career choice. In addition to this, a number of people wanting to start a career as a Chef have also grown, making it more competitive. I wish I could say the same for ‘front of house’ candidates. We are always looking at ways to make ‘front of house’ as strong a career choice as becoming a Chef.

We are lucky at Gordon Ramsay to have 14 diverse restaurants within the group. This helps us to develop and train Chefs across different styles of cooking. Therefore, we are able to offer attractive opportunities for new talent to join the team.

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 6th April 2017

Byron Lang, Guest Services Director, Gordon Ramsay Group