Peter Lloyd, Executive chef, Spice Market

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 9th February 2017
Peter Lloyd

Peter Lloyd discusses his role as Executive Chef at Spice Market and his own inspirations with regards to pursuing a career as a Chef.

Name: Peter Lloyd

Place of work: Spice Market

Role: Executive Chef

Follow Peter on Twitter here: @Chef_lloyd

Bio: Beginning his career as a Commis Chef at the House of Commons, before moving to the world-famous Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane, Peter has had the honour of being selected to cook for H.M the Queen and members of the Royal Family, alongside the King and Queen of Malaysia.

Previously a head Chef at the age of 23, as well as completing stages with Marco Pierre White, Gordon Ramsay, Pierre Koffmann, Phil Howard, and Charlie Trotter, Peter is now executive Chef at Spice Market. Having joined in 2011 he is responsible for all food operations across the restaurant and the W London-Leicester Square.

Chef Skills

Peter Lloyd 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 long have you been in this role?

Four years.

What was your first role?

When I left school I joined The YTS Scheme for catering with the British Armed Forces. My father was in the army based in Germany.

Was becoming a Chef always something you wanted to do?

No, not at all. But when the time came for me to decide what I wanted to do, becoming a Chef greatly appealed to me because food was always my greatest passion.

Knowing what you know now what advice would you go back and give yourself?

If someone told me as a 16-year-old the experiences I would have met the people and the places I would go to having the career that I have, I would not have believed them. It has been an incredible journey. For this reason, if I could go back and give myself advice for the future, it would be that the sky is the limit as long as you follow your passion.

Do you think it’s important for someone wanting to become a Chef to gain experience within all types of cuisines?

Pandan Macaron

 No, I don’t think it’s essential but for sure when you’re training to become a Chef it can be a great advantage to experiment with different types of cuisines in order to discover where your real passion lies. Without passion for the cuisine, you cook you will never be the best at it. 

At what point did you know that South-East Asian was a cuisine that you wanted to work with and promote?

 Very late on in my career. For 16 years I had been cooking modern  European but when I took over as Executive Chef at The Sanderson Hotel,  where there was a Modern Malaysian Restaurant, that’s when I discovered my passion for South-East Asian cooking. Since then, I have devoted my career to this cuisine.

How long would you recommend someone being in a position before moving on? Is going from one job to the next every 6 months frowned upon in your opinion?

To show loyalty, commitment and to really learn how to manage different sections of a kitchen and the changes that come with the seasons, you really need to spend at least 2 years in any one establishment; especially during the beginning of your career. As you progress in your career, it then becomes important to move on in order to continue your own development. This allows you to learn the different ways Chefs manage their kitchens, the different techniques they use and the different ways they cook. Learning all this helps you to decide what works best for you and you then create your own style. Moving from one job to the next every 6 months would set the alarm bells ringing for me and I would probably not employ a Chef with this on their CV.

What would be your top tips for someone looking to follow in your footsteps?

Work harder than the person next to you, document all of the things you learn and always push yourself to keep learning. When you think you are not learning anymore that is when it is time to move on. Lastly, be patient to see the fruits of your labour, there is no shortcut to becoming successful.

You’ve undertaken stages with some big names – how was that experience and was there added pressure going into a restaurant with a ‘name’ attached to it?

Spice Market street food

Yes, I have been lucky to stage with some great names in the industry including Gordon Ramsay, Marco Pierre White, Pierre Koffmann, Charlie Trotter and Phil Howard. I was promoted at a young age and always felt I was missing some Michelin star experience.  In order to gain such experience at these fine establishments, on my days off and holidays from my full-time job I would plan to work stages at leading Michelin-starred restaurants. I learnt a lot at these stages, not only how to make great dishes and improve my presentation skills but also more about how successful restaurants are managed.

You’ve worked inside and out of a kitchen within a restaurant – do you think this is important for an aspiring Chef; to gain experience in catering, private dining etc.?

I have gained important experiences and skills from every type of job I’ve had.  During my days as a commis Chef working at the Dorchester Hotel I would do some temping on my days off to earn a little extra cash; one minute I was working in one of London’s finest hotels, the next I would be cooking in a school or hospital.

As a private Chef cooking for Sir Anthony and Lady Bamford on their private yacht I had to cook with ingredients only available to me from the local markets and so the menus would really write themselves.

At Bank Restaurant I had a team of 36 Chefs turning over 350 covers for dinner. It can be very important to have varied your workplace whether it be fine dining, large events, a large busy restaurant or a big fancy hotel. All of these experiences have given me the tools to handle, control and organise any challenge that may arise.  

Do you think TV cooking shows helps or hinders the perceptions of a Chef – do you think it glamorises the industry and doesn’t show the tough reality?

Mango sticky rice with condensed milk ice cream

It’s a bit of a double-edged sword…young aspiring Chefs grow up seeing  Chefs on TV and think it’s an easy pathway to fame but it couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, it does glamorise the industry but I see this as a good thing as it shows if you work hard and dedicate yourself to becoming great at what you do, becoming a celebrity Chef, writing books about cooking and owning your own restaurant are all possibilities. Nearly every Chef I see on TV has worked for years to get to where they are.  There is always a couple of exceptions but that’s the same in any industry.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 9th February 2017

Peter Lloyd, Executive chef, Spice Market