Charles Boyd, Boyds Grill & Wine Bar

The Staff Canteen

Charles Boyd discusses his role as Owner and Chef at Boyds Grill & Wine Bar and his own inspirations with regards to pursuing a career as a Chef.

Name: Charles Boyd 

Place of work: Boyds Grill & Wine Bar

Role: Owner and Chef

Bio: Boyds Grill & Wine Bar owner, Charles Boyd, has been at the forefront of the hospitality and events industry for over three decades.  Founding the famous and multi-award winning ‘Chester Boyd’, London’s City caterers, in 1983, Charles’ experience in the industry has lead him to follow his passions for food, drink and most importantly, people.

The menu at the new Boyds Grill & Wine Bar reflects Charles’ unyielding passion for British produce and fantastic food.  As well as fabulous food Charles’ uncompromising standards of hospitality means that Boyds Grill & Wine Bar encompasses all of Charles’ ideologies in one beautiful, warm and unique environment.  

Boyds Grill & Wine Bar on Northumberland Avenue, Trafalgar Square, was launched on Wednesday, 24 February 2016.

Chef Skills

Charles Boyd takes us through her 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 did you get into the industry?

I felt very frustrated at school, it was an environment where you were simply told to learn ‘XYZ’ and I never really understood why. That question lead to me being thrown out of class, receiving detentions, a few slaps around the head, and told I was stupid on a few too many occasions. My rebellious side quickly followed, leading me to be expelled at aged 15.

I had two big passions - animals and eating animals – but to work with animals meant going back to school, so that idea was soon struck out.

My mum was a fantastic cook and as kids we lived on a hill farm where we enjoyed homemade biscuits, yogurts, cakes and were lovingly fed. With my passion for food I applied for a kitchen porter role at a good restaurant in a nearby village. After just three months, their old kitchen porter came back and I was fired - nice. I then got a trainee post a bit further away in a country house hotel. From my very first day there, I knew loved this industry.

What experience would someone need in order to progress to the top level of the industry and retain a longstanding career such as yours?

There is a sentence that used to make me angry – “Oh, you have been  lucky!” My immediate response was “NO, I worked bloody hard and  absolutely still do.” A more considered response is, I had a wonderful introduction to good food and ingredients. I have an aptitude and love for my work and that makes it much easier. Lastly, don’t stand still. I genuinely care about people who genuinely want to do a good job and never forget that the customer is king.

Obviously, know your subject. After that, you cannot spend too much time with people. This is a very human business and you ignore that at your peril.

If someone wants to have a career in catering, what are some key factors they must keep in mind?

It’s not a 9 to 5 job. Don’t do it if you don’t love it. Find the right experience or try different experiences to establish which one is for you. Be willing to work hard.

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

  1. 1.     Easy street does not exist
  2. 2.     Do something you love and are genuinely interested in
  3. 3.     People matter, be smart
  4. 4.     Customer is king even when you think they might be wrong
  5. 5.     Believe in yourself, but avoid being delusional

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

A great attitude.

You can nurture that into the best employees. The majority of the best people I have worked with grew into the post.

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

Find someone you admire to speak to. You might have a local pub that cooks great food or has a buzzing front of house team. There, you’ll learn a wide amount of skills in a small place. Working for a big organisation, however, will teach you process, a very valuable skill indeed.

Work for a profitable business and make a point of understanding why it’s profitable. That’s where your next pay rise is!

How important would you say further education is in this industry?

My personal experience says otherwise, but these days further education is how the majority learn best. If modern businesses could afford the cost and the time, further education on the job is more powerful.

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The Staff Canteen

Editor 28th July 2016

Charles Boyd, Boyds Grill & Wine Bar