Alain Roux, The Waterside Inn

The Staff Canteen
Alain Roux

Alain Roux discusses his role as Chef Patron at The Waterside Inn and his own inspirations with regards to pursuing a career as a Chef.

Name: Alain Roux

Place of work: The Waterside Inn

Role: Chef Patron

Bio: Best known for being the son of legendary restaurateur Michel Roux, Alain decided to follow in his father’s footsteps at the age of 14. He apprenticed as a pastry Chef before spending eight years in France working a number of Michelin starred restaurants such as Restaurant Pic and La Bonne Étape. He moved to Britain to work alongside his father at his Waterside Inn for ten years and became Chef-patron in 2002. The restaurant has retained all three of its Michelin stars for close to 30 years.

Follow Alain Roux on Twitter: @ChefAlainRoux

Chef Skills

Alain Roux 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?

12 years.

What experience would someone need in order to progress to the top level of the industry?

There is no substitute for attaining many years of varied experience to be in a position to progress to the top level. As a first step, it is advisable to complete a minimum of 2-3 years at catering school followed by years in the field i.e. obtain a good working knowledge of classic techniques and a breadth of experience in as many different fields as possible; including larger scale businesses with many covers and smaller private businesses with perhaps the proprietor working on site. 

Any experience gained working abroad, particularly at a young age, is invaluable and will strengthen your application for a role putting you ahead of the competition. 

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

1. Ensure you have an unbeatable CV.

2. Be prepared to follow up your application for a position by personally enquiring about the role and the progress of your application. This illustrates a passionate disposition along with tenacity and motivation; all vital qualities for success as a Chef.

 3. Show that you are prepared to start at the bottom of the ladder and realise that it will take time to learn and slowly progress.

 4. During vacations and days off, be prepared to volunteer your time to graft in a workplace, for example, to wash up or clean the floors, just to be able to further enhance your experience and knowledge. It will help you gain an insight into which field or position might suit you best.

5. Practice on your family and friends to gain the best feedback.

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

There are so many Chefs and restaurants and the choice is subjective, purely a matter of personal opinion and taste. There are no secrets to divulge here. The best advice is to find a position that is busy, whether a pub, restaurant or hotel offering full service and food. There is nothing worse than trying to learn and enjoy your role in a dull, quiet environment.

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

I look for evidence that the candidate is ready to commit to being part of my team and the hard work, long hours and loyalty this entails. I look for reassurance that the candidate is looking for a long term position coupled with exemplary enthusiasm and willingness to attain their goal through working with us. 

I am impressed by consistent, coherent CVs that show evidence of a plan and career progression and relevant prior work experience, preferably without long, unexplained gaps which could infer they may be likely to move on after a short period. I always try to ascertain the candidate’s goals and an explanation as to what they hope to achieve in a role with us. I love to hear about their dreams, no matter how grandiose these might seem.

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Editor 12th May 2016

Alain Roux, The Waterside Inn