Alan Paton, Stoke by Nayland Hotel

The Staff Canteen

Alan Paton discusses his role as Executive Head Chef at Nayland Hotel Golf and Spa and his own inspirations with regards to pursuing a career as a Chef.

Name: Alan Paton 

Place of work: Stoke by Nayland Hotel Golf and Spa

Role: Executive Head Chef

Bio: Paton’s career has led him to work in five-star hotels, three AA Rosette and Bib Gourmand restaurants. Over the years he has also worked at the Hotel L’Horizon in Jersey, a five-star game lodge in South Africa and on The Seabourn Pride cruise ship which is part of Cunard. Coming from a family of Chefs, hoteliers, restaurateurs and publicans it was somewhat inevitable for Paton to proceed in the career path that he has followed. Alan as also won numerous gold awards for pork-based products for the restaurant industry and in 2009 he won the Skills for Chefs award for the profit sector which includes hotels, restaurants and pubs.

Follow Alan on Twitter: @alanpaton7


Chef Skills

Alan Paton 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?

Four and a half years.

What advice would you give to someone just entering into the industry?

Listen, listen, listen and ask questions. Observe those around you and above you. There is much to learn not just practically but visually and by listening.

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

This industry has many sectors, when I was younger I tried 4 or 5 different ones before settling on hotels and restaurants. After that you must believe in yourself that with hard work and applying yourself you can and will succeed. No such thing as overnight success, get the foundation right.

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

1. Listen to those teaching you.

2. Look to improve if only a little, every single day.

3. Experience as many sides to this great industry as you can then decide your future.

4. Always observe and take note.

5. Immerse yourself and enjoy.

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

The key Chefs are the ones that the individual gains inspiration from, this takes you back to what sector within the industry do you want to follow. A few years ago contract/industrial catering wasn’t always shown in the best light, now look at it! There are some amazing Chefs there not least the former National Chef of the Year – Hayden Groves.

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

I want to see passion, commitment, skill alongside pure enjoyment in what they do, in what can be a very giving career. I want to hear and see how much they love what they do and hear of their future aspirations.

View Feature posts about Alan Paton

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The Staff Canteen

Editor 26th January 2017

Alan Paton, Stoke by Nayland Hotel