Lee Westcott, Typing Room, London

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 1st December 2016

Lee Westcott discusses his role as Executive Chef at Typing Room and his own inspirations with regards to pursuing a career as a Chef.

Name: Lee Westcott

Lee Westcott

Place of Work: Typing Room

Role: Executive Chef

Bio: Lee has worked alongside the world’s most innovative Chefs, which has helped to shape his signature style of modern European food. He has worked with Michelin-starred Chef Tom Aikens, heading up his restaurant for two years and stages at Per Se in New York City and Noma, Denmark. He was also the Head Chef of two of Jason Atherton’s restaurants in Hong Kong but Lee has now returned to London to carry out his solo venture, Atherton’s Typing Room at Town Hall hotel in East London.

Follow Lee on Twitter here: @LeeWestcott

Chef Skills

Lee Westcott 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 started in the industry?

I actually kind of fell into it, to be honest. I left school, didn’t really know what I wanted to do, so I got a job and I enjoyed it, I enjoyed working in a kitchen.

What are your top tips?

Pick where you want to work and just pester them until you get a job really, be persistent. You have got to be ready for long and hard hours though.

What are the main challenges you face in your role?

As a Chef, hours is a huge thing, we do like 80-90 hours a week which is near enough double what normal people do in Monday – Friday work.  So that’s a massive challenge. It’s also very stressful, it’s demanding and you’re under pressure quite a lot.  Anyone who wants to get into the industry has to realise that or they won't last.

If someone were applying to work for you what would you look for?

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Where they’ve worked is a factor but it’s more about when you get them in for a chat and how eager, keen and passionate they are. CV’s can only say so much, it’s more about what they’re like when you meet them and the kind of attitude they put across especially when they're in the kitchen. 

It is about CV’s but it’s also about their personalities and how they come across and how interested in that job they are and how passionate they are about it.

How many years has it taken you to get where you are now?

 I’ve been cooking for 12 years now, which is actually not much. I was sat with lots of Chefs yesterday who have been cooking for 54 years. 12 years is nothing.

If you could go back and do anything differently, would you?

 I would have worked in a few different countries, rather than stayed in London so long. Just get more experience and broaden my knowledge on world cuisines. 

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 1st December 2016

Lee Westcott, Typing Room, London