00:01 My name’s Rick Razza. I am the company executive chef for Baxter Storey.
00:06 My primary concern is looking after the Baxter Storey chef academy. I also look after the sales element of food in Baxter Storey, I look after the chefs’ training as well in Baxter Storey.
00:19 It is a big job, yeah, it is a big job.
00:21 I didn’t enjoy school, I didn’t enjoy the elements of school. There were certain elements at school that I enjoyed, with certain teachers. They were few and far between and those are the subjects that, funnily enough, I did well in and the other subjects, where I didn’t really get on with the teachers, I did quite badly in, and didn’t put any effort into those either, so you know, didn’t, I came out with one O level, that was it, nothing else behind me
00:47 It was always in the blood. Dad was a restaurant manager in some of the top places in London um and then he left and started in his own restaurant.
00:55 I never thought I’d go that route, I suppose as a youngster it was like I want to be a vet and what have you, realised you had to be super-intelligent and that was knocked off the agenda, quite quickly and then kind of like fell into working with dad, so did the restaurant front of house for six months, with dad and whilst doing that six months I found myself working more and more with the chef, at the time.
01:13 Mum’s Swedish, she went to Sweden for a bit of time and while she was in Sweden, I took it upon myself to leave college and go and work with dad in the restaurant. Mum came back to this and it was like huge family uproar and outcome of that was, well you can do the restaurant work, but you need to really go to catering college. Found that I really enjoyed it, found it a very different experience to school. It was something that I enjoyed and I threw myself into it, I was very passionate about it, my attitude was spot on when I was working at the college. No matter how much work they asked me to of, I kept on doing it and really enjoyed that.
01:46 Then I went back to dad which was, I often look back on that and think, could I have taken two routes, and the two routes were to work with dad, and that shaped me to who I am today, so you know, I’m very thankful to that. The other route would have been what I call to go on to the hotel/restaurant run, which would have been doing three to four years in very nice restaurants and hotel establishments, learning my trade like that um and then looking at where my career would have taken me after that.
02:12 Working with family can be fantastic. It also has its downsides of you’re always on top of each other, all the time, especially if you’re living above the restaurant, you never get away from it and after, I think, about five years, it was time to move on and I saw an advert, it was the BBC actually, for a chef de partis um and would be in contract catering. Didn’t have a clue what contract catering was. When I revised for the interview it was all about big shepherd’s pies, big lasagnes and what have you. I remember going into the interview and seeing the carousel that carries the trays round and the only time I’d seen those was in hospital, so I associated the food with that and nearly walked out, but I thought, I’d better go ahead and have the interview cos I’d booked it anyway. So I sat down and spoke with the kitchen manager at the time, a chap called Chris, and I was just blown away by what they were doing in contract catering and that was twenty-two, twenty-three years ago, and I just thought, well this is amazing, totally different to my dad’s restaurant, you know, I was working in a building that had two thousand, two hundred people in. Dad’s restaurant sat, you know, at its busiest, forty-five people at one sitting.
03:16 I suppose I’ve always opened up my own opportunities, rather than being offered them, um so seeing those and thinking actually that’s the route I want to take and let’s drive on and do it.
03:26 It was accepting to myself that I had to move away from the family business, which was very hard. It took eighteen months for me to make that decision, to actually move away from the family business and do something else and then stumbling across contract catering, cos I did stumble access it.
03:42 It’s about really enjoying people, it’s about pleasing people, cos that’s what you do, day in, day out, that is the heart of what we do. It’s about being inspirational with the ingredients that you’re working with, it’s about showing innovation, having lots of thoughts, being good with your hands and delivering it day in, day out.