Chris Gillard, St John Restaurant Group

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 11th August 2016

Chris Gillard discusses his role as Group Executive Head Chef at St John Restaurant Group and his own inspirations with regards to pursuing a career as a Chef.

Name: Chris Gillard

Chris Gillard

Place of work: St John Restaurant Group

Role: Group Executive Head Chef

Bio: Chris Gillard joined St John in 2000, a restaurant owned by Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver which opened in 1994. He was promoted to Head Chef in 2004 and was there when he gained their first Michelin Star in 2009, which he still retains. He continues to run the busy kitchen and oversees the daily changing menu.

Follow the restaurant on Twitter here: @SJRestaurant

Chef Skills

Chris Gillard 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 did you get into cooking? 

I started working as a kitchen porter, part time when I was about 15. Though I had no intention of becoming a Chef at that point, I liked the kitchen and have always been interested in good food. Following a couple of failed attempts at University, back in the kitchen is where I ended up.

St John food

Do you think there was enough advice available when you were starting out?

 There was very little formal advice. Early on I made a decision to pursue what had become a  passion and made a conscious choice to step backwards but into a real kitchen.

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

  •  Be clear about your goals and expectations
  •  Enjoy the buzz of a busy service
  •  Quietly read up on your rights, there is far too much abuse in the hospitality industry. 
  •  Get experience early on in different areas of the industry
  •  Consider cooking as a craft with many aspects to learn and master

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

It is important to keep an open mind, we look for a balance of attributes. Fitting in with the team often counts for more than a glowing C.V. there are huge benefits to the system of trial shifts. 

St John

If you could go back and tell yourself one piece of advice, knowing what you know now, what would it be?

Write recipes down! I now take photos to help me remember what has been created.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 11th August 2016

Chris Gillard, St John Restaurant Group