James Mackenzie, The Pipe and Glass Inn

The Staff Canteen
James Mackenzie

James Mackenzie discusses his role as Chef and owner at The Pipe and Glass Inn and his own inspirations with regards to pursuing a career as a Chef.

Name: James Mackenzie

Place of work: The Pipe and Glass Inn

Role: Chef and owner

Bio: James’s pub the Pipe and Glass was awarded a Michelin star in 2010, received National Pub of the Year 2012 by the Michelin Eating out in Pubs Guide and was also the Good Pub Guide's County Dining Pub of the Year for Yorkshire 2014. James has given cookery demonstrations at events such as the Cottingham Food Festival, Beverley Food Festival and Hull's Yum! Festival and his first cookbook was released in 2012.

Follow James on Twitter here: @pipeandglass

Chef Skills

James Mackenzie 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?

Nine years.

What made you want to own and run your own pub?

I’d always enjoyed cooking and I’d worked in a kitchen since I was 13 washing up, and I decided to further it and go to college. I worked hard for many years before considering it, my wife and I spoke about ultimately having our own place and then it was just about getting the right opportunity. We were quite happy where we were and then out of the blue it came to a point where a couple of my friends wanted to back us. They weren’t particularly wealthy people or anything and I spent about two months trying to put them off it because they wouldn’t get a fast return from it, but they didn’t change their minds and it went from there.

What experience and how many years would you say someone would need to get to the top of the industry?

 When you are quite young you are a bit naïve about it and think ‘yeah, I  want to work in a top place and have a Michelin star by the time I’m 29’,  and there is nothing wrong with having aspirations. But then you leave college and you go out into the real world and work harder and harder and realise that it isn’t all about the Michelin stars, it’s about working hard and getting your head down. So there is no set rule really, I think it is just when you think you are ready, and you’ve still got that enthusiasm and drive to make it work.

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

  • Listen and learn all that you can
  • Work hard
  • Commitment is essential, stick with a place long enough
  • Take all of the knowledge that you can from eating out, cookery books, keeping up with the industry etc.
  • If you really want to do it then do it, but make sure you love what you are doing

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

I think that totally depends on where you want your career path to go, I think that front-of-house is equally as important and gets forgotten sometimes. Pick the right place so that you can grow and learn and then progress on to a better place and build your career up to that way. Stick with the right people, our industry is very small and the right people know other people in the industry and can help you out. It’s not just about Michelin stars, it is about where your passion lies, be that restaurants, hotels, wherever.

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

Most of all that they want to do our job, and they have a good positive attitude. They need to be prepared to work and to learn, they are the main attributes really. In a CV make sure it is well written, you do get some quite poorly written CVs. They should have an up to date CV and well-worded covering letter. They should include information about where they have worked and also a bit about their character as well, so that we can see if they have a love of the industry.

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The Staff Canteen

Editor 16th February 2017

James Mackenzie, The Pipe and Glass Inn