Arnaud Stevens, chef patron, Sixty One

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 16th June 2016

Arnaud Stevens discusses his role as Chef Patron at #Sixtyone restaurant and his own inspirations with regards to pursuing a career as a Chef.

Name: Arnaud Stevens

Role: Chef Patron

Place of work: #Sixtyone restaurant

Follow Arnaud on Twitter: @GherkinKitchen

Bio: Arnaud is Chef patron at #Sixtyone restaurant. He is a classically trained Chef and restaurateur with a mixed English and French background. He progressed into the industry through an apprenticeship with Forte in Devon. Arnaud’s work included time at the five-starred Imperial Hotel in Torquay. He has worked with industry greats like Gordon Ramsey and Jason Atherton. He also had his restaurant featured on BBC’s TV programme Celebrity Master Chef.   

Chef Skills

Arnaud Stevens 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.

Can you tell me a bit about your background? How did you get into the hospitality industry?

Around the age of 12, my father took me to a Michelin star restaurant and I think the passion grew from there, watching immaculate waiters with cloches, beautifully presented food and a very grand dining room. I just loved it and thought it was amazing. I knew I wanted to be part of it whether it was front of house or back of house. I did a Forte apprenticeship, back in the day they were the leading five star hotel company in the world.  I travelled to Italy and France, I worked at various Michelin starred restaurants down in Devon, that was all part of the apprenticeship scheme.

Has your background really inspired what you cook?

Yes, my mother and grandmother were amazing cooks and my great uncle was a very successful butcher in France.

What was it like working in some of your previous roles such as for Gordon Ramsey?

I was head Chef for Jason Atherton and part of the original team that opened Maze Grill. When you work for Gordon you definitely learn the functionality of the restaurant, acute attention to detail and a very different management style, very different from anywhere I have ever worked.

octopus

What was it like having celebrity MasterChef in your kitchen?

Exceptional, it was a really good experience actually and it amazed me how ‘real’ it was. To be honest I have always preempted that these things are always pre-rehearsed or pre-staged but everything on the day when they arrived and what they were putting on the plate was completely real which really took me by surprise! They did everything pretty much from scratch to finish, it was a really good experience, no question, lovely,  lovely people.

Is there anything in particular that you look out for on a Chef's CV?

I suppose it’s their want, for a better word, to master their art. So it’s about them mastering their craft and the amount of dedication to the craft. I look for enthusiasm for the industry, food and ingredients. They need to be ‘foodie’ driven; do they eat out in restaurants once every other month? General enthusiasm for the industry and ‘wanting’ to get to the top, I only employ people that want to get to the top.

What tips would you give for people trying to make it as a Chef or in hospitality?

Prepare to sacrifice ten years of your life, it’s a very tough journey. You have to be willing to start at the bottom but by starting at the bottom and working in the best places. It’s a question of adapting yourself and working for the best people you can work for. That’s what I did and I think it worked well for me. I think apprenticeship schemes are amazing, I would definitely recommend them whether two or three years and in conjunction with a college so not only are you learning how to go to work but also learning all the theory of what goes into the running of a kitchen. With all the legislation now, health and safety and the average wage rising, if you want to become a Chef it is very important you sort of become a restaurateur and understand what your wage or wastage costs etc. will be. 

choc fondant

Are there any particular restaurants or Chefs you think those aspiring to work in the industry should get into contact with?

Tom Kerridge, Paul Ainsworth, Sat Bains. I would say Searcy, is an amazing organisation, they do everything from retail to corporate to grab-and-go and client based contracts, they pretty much cover everything now, so for a young Chef I think Searcy is definitely a good journey, they are also my current business partners for #Sixtyone. 

Were there any Chefs who inspired you to pursue your career?

I would say, Richard Corrigan, Gary Rhodes, Pierre Koffman, Jason Atherton and the Pourcel twins, in Montpellier, they were very, very inspirational in the way they cook and the style of dishes I do now.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 16th June 2016

Arnaud Stevens, chef patron, Sixty One