Richard Rogerson, Head Chef, Alimentum

The Staff Canteen
Richard Rogerson

Richard Rogerson discusses his role as Head Chef at Alimentum and his own inspirations with regards to pursuing a career as a Chef.

Name: Richard Rogerson

Place of work: Alimentum

Role: Head Chef

Follow Richard on Twitter: @RogersonRich

Bio: Richard started off his career at the age of 15 working in a small hotel in Ruthin north wales. After one year he moved to London to work at J Sheekeys restaurant & oyster bar where he worked as a Chef de partie. He was in London for only 18 months before moving to Chester. He worked in a few different kitchens before he ended up at Peckforton castle where he worked as Sous Chef. He moved to Cambridge in 2014 to work under Mark Poynton at restaurant Alimentum as Sous Chef. He was later promoted to Head Chef in September 2015.

Chef Skills

Richard Rogerson 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 off as a kitchen porter at the age of 15 years old & liked the look of life in the kitchen. When I left school I went to work in a local hotel. After a few years my Head Chef advised me to head off to London which I did in 2010. Since then I have worked my way around the country working in various kitchens before arriving at Alimentum. Since joining the team as Sous Chef in 2014, Mark Poynton has now handed over to me the position of Head Chef.

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

The great thing about Chefs is that they have so much passion for what they do, that they enjoy passing on advice to others almost as much as they enjoy the cooking itself. So there is always lots of advice being passed on to new recruits.

My advice to people wanting to get into the industry would be to go and stage and get work experience in as many kitchens as you can. Any Chef that has been in the business for a while will have lots of knowledge for you to take from them.

Remember: when you are working in these kitchens to maintain a great attitude,  ask as many questions as you can and listen to everything they tell you. If you can prove to them how much you want it, the chances are they might offer you a  position in their team.

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

 Make sure that it is something you definitely want to do & be prepared to sacrifice.  Not only are the long hour’s hard, but missing family events and rarely seeing friends is also tough.

  • Learn the basics, ask as many questions as you can, write it all down. All this information will become your bible in future years.

  • Gain as many different experiences as you can. Even after you find your way into a kitchen team, still go and stage in your free time. This will help you to discover your own style in the future.

  • Respect the team you work with. From the kitchen porters to the Head Chef, they all have something different to bring to the team.

  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, as long as you can identify what went wrong there is a lot you can learn from that. It also helps you prevent others from making the same mistakes as you did.

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

CV’s can only say so much about a person. It’s obvious that you look at the quality of the previous places of work. One of the main things I  look for is how long they have stayed in the places that they have worked. There is nothing appealing about a Chef that jumps from restaurant to restaurant every 12months. It’s a waste of my time.

But in reality, it doesn’t really matter where they have worked before, as long as they have that fire burning & are willing to learn then I will always have a place for them on my team.

In some ways, it is better to get people in with less experience as you can then shape them to the way you want them to be.

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

Although I have had a great amount of experience in my time as a Chef, Alimentum was my first Michelin kitchen experience. I would have advised myself to get cooking at this level at a much earlier age. Although I am happy and proud with what I have achieved in my career this far, I do believe I could have achieved a lot more by now if I was a little more eager at the beginning.

Also, I have spent my whole career cooking in England. I would have liked to have cooked in a few other countries. Just to gain more knowledge about other cuisines of the world.

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The Staff Canteen

Editor 2nd March 2017

Richard Rogerson, Head Chef, Alimentum