Assistant Cook
Fairstead House School

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Simone A

0.00.00 My name’s Simone A. I am, I work here at Fairstead House School. I’m assistant cook in the kitchen. I do enjoy cooking, yes, it’s, you can do so many different things and you can create so many different things, whether it tastes nice or horrible, you still try to make a meal out of what you’ve got. I didn’t have any favourite subjects at school but it was more a case of the social side of it.

0.00.30 You didn’t want to miss a day in case you missed something really important. So yeah, I enjoyed going. Quite an outspoken, popular, very loud, distracting person I’d say. But yeah I enjoyed it but I just wasn’t interested in the learning side of it at all really. That sounds really bad. I think that’s why I ended up in the catering job, it’s more of a hands-on instead of a sit down looking at books and marking papers and staring at a computer screen all day.

0.01.00 When I left school I had a choice from my mother, either get a job or go to college, so I went to college with a group of friends, we did the catering course. It was really good actually. They took us on lots of different trips and stuff to help us pass our course. It wasn’t like school, you’d spend most of the morning in the kitchen and then you’d go off and do written work and then in the second year you got a choice of whether you wanted to stay in the kitchen or go front of house. So obviously I stayed kitchen cos it’s behind the scenes, it’s a lot more fun.

0.01.30 With it being in Berry we didn’t, all my friends we came from such different parts of Suffolk that we didn’t actually get a chance to really meet up and go out. Sometimes we might meet up for a party but it wasn’t wild nights or anything like that. It was, we mainly went to college to learn our skills to go out to work. When it came to finishing the course I was, I got offered a job in London so I went to work for a company called Refined Dining in London. Lots of corporate dinners and stuff like that.

0.02.00 There was five of us in total from our course that went over to London, shared flat and we just worked all over London really. From what I actually learnt was it’s hard work, really hard work. It just sucks up so much of your life at that point, you’re up at six o’clock in the morning, you don’t finish until half past ten / eleven o’clock at night and then you’ve got to travel back to wherever you’re staying. So you’re up for most of the day. It is a long, long job.

0.02.30 You have to love it. I’d say I felt used really going round, supporting all these other units and not getting the money, whereas all my friends were getting pay rises, it seemed a bit of a slap in the face. So it was a case of I asked how much, of the new promotion job that I’d been offered, I asked how much was the wage and it just wasn’t adding up right. Every time I’d come home I’d have to borrow more money off my family, so it was a case of either they pay me more or I was coming out.

0.03.00 So I came home, did other jobs in between. I worked a private hospital and then I fell pregnant with my son, so then I was out of work for about four years and then he started full-time school so I found a job and this was it. I’d have to say my mum and dad are my role models. They’ve always been in work. They’ve always told us to get a job, to not laze about. My dad comes from Barbados. He came over about forty years now. He works at the horse sales in Newmarket,

0.03.30 it’s called Tattersalls, been working there for quite some time now. My mum, she works at West Suffolk Hospital in the theatres. I don’t know her job but I know that if you call her a nurse she gets very upset. I have to say having my son is the proudest thing that I own. I just live for Isaac basically at the moment now. I work to provide for him, so that’s my life really.


Simone A is an Assistant Cook at Fairstead House School, near Cambridge. After finishing her catering course she and her friends took a flat in London. But even working very long hours she didn’t manage to earn enough to live in London, so she returned home. She now has a young son to provide for.

More information about Cooks

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

32%  male 
68%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Cooks prepare, season and cook food, often using pre-prepared ingredients, in clubs, private households, fast food outlets, shops selling food cooked on the premises and the catering departments and canteens of other establishments.
There are no formal academic requirements. Training is provided off- and on-the-job. NVQs/ SVQs in Food Preparation and Cooking are available at Levels 1, 2 and 3. Apprenticeships leading to an NVQ/SVQ at Level 3 are also available.
  • Requisitions or purchases foodstuffs and checks quality;
  • Plans meals, prepares, seasons and cooks foodstuffs;
  • Cooks and sells a range of meals, such as fish and chips, over the counter;
  • Plans and co-ordinates kitchen work such as fetching, clearing and cleaning of equipment and utensils.
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