International Chefs Day 2022 – Get to know two of Stonegate Group’s Kitchen Managers

International Chefs Day is a time to celebrate all the amazing individuals working in hospitality around the world as kitchen team members and chefs. Whether you have been working in the role a long time or just stepped foot into the kitchen, then today is about you and recognising all your skilled work! 

In aid of International Chefs Day and to give those of you considering this career a better understanding of the field, we recently spoke to Cameron Baker from The Squirrel in Farnborough and Sorin Cernea from Slug and Lettuce to find out more about the roles in kitchens.

Cameron Baker

Cameron is currently working as a Kitchen Manager at The Squirrel, Farnborough and has been working with Stonegate Group for six years. He has been working in hospitality and pub kitchens since the age of 17 and has progressed in his career, with his most recent qualification being his Level 3 Kitchen Manager apprenticeship. Cameron is currently coming to the end of his Level 4 apprenticeship as a Kitchen Manager.  

What made you want to become a chef? 

“Whilst I was at university, I worked in pubs where I started in the kitchen and found my passion for cooking. Once I had joined Stonegate, there were so many opportunities for progression within kitchen-based roles, which aligned with my career ambitions.”

What does your apprenticeship entail? 

“My apprenticeship as a Kitchen Manager allows me to learn about both front and back of house so I gain two perspectives of the business and am fully aware of the happenings, which contributes to my experience and knowledge as I carry on my career. I am also learning about menu planning, different management styles and cooking techniques, which are all important factors within my role and future roles I wish to pursue.” 

What is the best part about your role? 

“Working within the kitchen requires great teamwork, and the best part about my role is getting to work with some amazing people and create great relationships with them. Also, I love a challenge, and in my current role I have encountered different challenges, which have not only helped me learn but enabled me to grow in my job.”

What is your favourite dish to cook? 

“It’s a classic, and well-loved at The Squirrel, but I love cooking Hunters Chicken. It is a tasty dish and customers are always complimenting it!”

What advice would you give to individuals considering a career as a chef? 

“I would say that confidence and a go-getting attitude are the biggest factors I have needed working in the kitchen. However, I would say get involved with every opportunity that comes your way, and there will be challenges along the way, but it will support you as you follow your mindset to progress.”

Sorin Cernea

Sorin has worked as a chef in various different kitchens and began working at Stonegate Group in 2018, where he started as a team leader at Slug and Lettuce, Tower Bridge. He has continued to work his way up at Slug and Lettuce, to his current position of Kitchen Manager, doing a Level 4 apprenticeship. 

What got you into cooking and wanting to become a chef? 

“When I moved to the UK, I started working in hospitality and thoroughly enjoyed working in the kitchen and found that it was something I was good at and knew from there that I wanted to continue to work within this area.” 

What experiences have helped you in your career? 

“Since working at Slug and Lettuce, I have undertaken some internal training programmes provided by Stonegate, to support me in progressing within my career and expanding my knowledge of management and culinary skills, which has helped me to can carry out my work to the best of my ability.”

What are some of your inspirations and motivations working as a chef? 

“Along with working around experienced and talented individuals, I would say my biggest motivation is to reach the highest point available in my career and continue climbing the ladder of success. Every time I complete a task and have carried it out well, even though I may have found it challenging, I inspire myself to continue my best work.”

Do you have any career aspirations after completing your apprenticeship? 

“I have always wanted to work within managing others and am looking to continue working in this area and progressing from where I am now, as well as keeping it within my enjoyment of cooking.”

What advice would you give to individuals looking to progress in their career as a chef or considering the role? 

“I would say if becoming a chef is your aspiration, then take every opportunity to gain experience and expand your knowledge as this will be very beneficial when progressing within your career.”

Chefs are very passionate about their work, and it is not just a job for them. They are food connoisseurs and display their knowledge and love of food through well-presented and delicious dishes. If the role of a chef is standing out to you, Stonegate Group along with other hospitality businesses offer a range of apprenticeships and roles for this career path. To find out more information, check out their websites or our employer’s page. 

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