Chef Director
Dakota Hotel

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Roy B

00:00:02 I’m Roy B I’m the chef director at Dakota.

00:00:05 Well oversee the, everything to do with food and, I also work in the, the selection of the wines, where they buy from, who we, who we build relationships with.

00:00:20 It is a hard job, it’s a hard job it’s a, it’s a job that you go in with your eyes open so, you know previous, previous experiences tells you it’s gonna be hard but, rewarding but hard.

00:00:33 A lot of my friends were taking on apprenticeships, joiners, you know there wasn’t a, a career path that we were taking was university bound it was apprenticeships you know.

00:00:45 Cooking then wasn’t very fashionable you know it was quite a camp profession you don’t, it’s almost like oh, you’ve got a choice of doing woodwork or home economics, you know I’m definitely doing the woodwork you know it’s like, you could never do that, but I did quite like it, I did, I did quite like cooking. I don’t think I was that good at it to be honest.

00:01:07 I was gonna be a joiner, but I wasn’t very good, I wasn’t a good joiner at all. But I had, it was a, a job that was basically searched through my parents, so, I’d seen an advertisement in the local newspaper saying that there was a position for an apprentice chef and in this kitchen you used everything in the kitchen so there was, there was no wastage it just had a sort of a, a little bit something that happened that triggered me, so, I went for the interview and blagged my way through.

00:01:37 And at the time in Edinburgh 1985 the chefs that came up to this hotel they were all from London, they were all from the Dorchester, the Savoy, the Mandarin in Hong Kong, you had some very famous chefs working there, there’s head chefs, second chefs etc. And there’s a lot of discipline which was severely lacking in my life, and, it gave you a real grounding it gave you a real you know it took a while took about a year to accept it, but once you accepted it, it was, it was good.

00:02:15 Sometimes you take positions on before you, before you’re ready, and you’ll bear the scars for that, cos I’ve been given financial offers that, for jobs I’ve taken them, not really looking at what had to be done within the job itself, so, you go in looking at the, the money and this is after a few years, it’s not straight away, and you realise you don’t have the depth or the experience, then you have to go back again. And then you try again, and then you realise you’re getting a little bit better but you’re not quite there yet.

00:02:52 So I had one or two tries to, to when I thought I was ready but I wasn’t. I remember leaving the Savoy grille I didn’t want to leave, but my, my mother and father were like, come on, come back, got, your girlfriend should be getting engaged now I was twenty one. I came up to Edinburgh got engaged and it lasted for about six months and that was it, finished. You know really, I don’t think it even lasted for six months.

00:03:15 Kitchens now there’s so many, I would say, bright chefs and I don’t, and intelligent chefs and I’m not meaning by grades at school or, you know but just people who’ve got good life’s experiences and, there’s something that we’ve seen at Rick Stein’s as well.

00:03:31 You know had a, a girl that came on who was, didn’t know what she was doing with her life, she came into the kitchen, and now she’s the pastry chef at the Ivy you know and this was what, it’s only five years she’s been in the business.

00:03:45 Cos you know you’ve got university graduates, you’ve got ex drug addicts you’ve got you know all walks of life joiners, whatever, or me or whatever and we all come together and it works, and it’s one of the few industries that you can come from anything and be there.

00:04:04 END


Roy B is a Chef Director for Dakota Hotels. He’s had a lot of different jobs during his career as a chef. He says it’s a career where people from different backgrounds, e.g. university graduates, ex-drug addicts and joiners can work together and make a good living.

More information about Chefs

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

78%  male 
22%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Chefs plan menus and prepare, or oversee the preparation of food in hotels, restaurants, clubs, private households and other establishments.
There are no formal academic requirements. Training is provided off- and on-the-job. NVQs/ SVQs, BTEC Certificates and Diplomas and foundation degrees are available. Apprenticeships leading to an NVQ/SVQ at Level 3 are also available. Courses are also run by private cookery schools.
  • Requisitions or purchases and examines foodstuffs from suppliers to ensure quality;
  • Plans menus, prepares, seasons and cooks foodstuffs or oversees their preparation and monitors the quality of finished dishes;
  • Supervises, organises and instructs kitchen staff and manages the whole kitchen or an area of the kitchen;
  • Ensures relevant hygiene and health and safety standards are maintained within the kitchen;
  • Plans and co-ordinates kitchen work such as fetching, clearing and cleaning of equipment and utensils.
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