3 chefs in a kitchen

The opportunities a kitchen career with Mitchells & Butlers can unlock for you...

Jess Birch our consultant managing the role
Posting date: 06 January 2020
 

Looking for a kitchen career? Putting on the chef whites with Mitchells & Butlers offers plenty of opportunities to climb the career ladder and work with a great bunch of likeminded people. Simon Whitfield, Accredited Kitchen Manager, is celebrating 30 years of service with Mitchells & Butlers, so we decided to catch up with him to find out more about his career journey and hear his top tips for a career in hospitality.

 
 
 
 


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When did you join Mitchells & Butlers and why did you join?

I think it was 13th August 1989 when I started at Mitchells & Butlers. I joined straight out of school. I was not very academic and wasn’t much for the classroom, so the on the job training really appealed to me.


How does it feel to reach 30 years of service?

Old! But seriously, I feel very proud of the fact I have achieved this. Originally It was my intention to only stay for a couple of years while I trained. But honestly, I really don’t know where the time has gone. It feels like yesterday was my first day.


Tell us a little bit about your career journey.

I started out training to be a Grill Chef and learned the basics of running the kitchen. After I learned the ropes, I was promoted to be a Second Chef and a few years later I moved into the Head Chef role. During this time, I branched out and learned how to run the bar and restaurant so that I could work in every department. I then progressed into the Assistant Manager role, and it was during this time I started working in different businesses, gaining valuable experience.

After a few years of working in different businesses, I decided I wanted to settle in one business. So, when the Kitchen Manager job was available at Toby Carvery Festival Park I came back and have been working with the team since 2005. Since then, I made the jump to become an Accredited Kitchen Manager.


What has been your favourite moment over the last 30 years?

There have been so many but meeting my partner and the mother to our 2-year-old son was the best. Also, I’ve made so many lifetime friends over the years.


What is it about Mitchells & Butlers that has made you want to stay for 30 years?

For me, the people have been the most important thing. The guys I have worked with over the years have become family really. Lifetime friends that support you through thick and thin, the good times and the bad. Because of them sometimes it didn’t even feel like work, it’s more of a hobby you get paid for.

Also, company stability. I have never been out of work, worried about money and the job has paid for me to travel the world with my mates. It’s paid for my home and the life me and my family have today.


What’s your favourite part of your role now?

The variety of being an Accredited Kitchen Manager is great. I’ve been able to get involved in so many different parts of the company, whether that’s helping other restaurants, training the next generation of Kitchen Managers, or working with Alison Bradbury, Head of People, on Kitchen retention in Toby Carvery. I’ve even been able to help pilot for new menus.


What would be your advice for someone looking to pursue a kitchen career?

Be prepared to work hard. If you pick a kitchen role then don’t accept second best. Be a team player and most importantly look after your team and they will look after you. Some of my best team members have been with me for 15 years.


To find out more about kitchen opportunities at Mitchells & Butlers, head over to our kitchen roles.


posts

Our stories

The inside scoop: what it's like to be back working in a pub after Covid-19

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Bar and Waiting

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Blog

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7/15/2020

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It’s been just over three months since the doors of our pubs, restaurants and bars closed and our teams hung up their chef whites and poured their last pints.  The moment our government announced that we could reopen, the M&B family got busy preparing our pubs and restaurants so we were ready to safely welcome our guests again. We spoke to Casey who works as waiting staff at one of our businesses to find out what her time away from the pub has been like and how she feels after her first week back to work. Here’s the inside scoop: What role do you do and how long have you been with M&B? For the last three years, I’ve worked for M&B as a Team Member at the Plough in Harrow, which is one of our Premium Country Pubs. The flexibility of this job has allowed me to gain some great experience in the hospitality industry whilst studying for my degree at university. What did you miss most while away from work?Just being productive, admittedly I fell into a bit of a rut during the lockdown and felt like I would accomplish nothing with my days, there are only so many zoom quizzes and Netflix series you can watch. Being back at work, back with my team and seeing the regulars has really helped me to mentally get out of that rut and get back to my old self.How did you feel coming back to work?At first, I was nervous and quite anxious at the idea of coming back to my restaurant job, but once I was made aware of the new procedures that have been put in place and I saw them in action I was instantly eased. M&B has been really supportive throughout the lockdown, sharing regular updates on what’s happening within the business and giving us all the information we need on new procedures to make the return to work as seamless as possible.What was the first order you took when your pub reopened? It was a table of two of our regulars who shared that they couldn’t wait to come back to see us. They ordered a Dirty Burger with added halloumi and 7oz Fillet Steak, medium with beef dripping sauce and a side of onion rings. Our regulars probably know the menu as well as we do and know how to put together a mouth-watering meal.What has it been like working in a pub since they reopened?I thought I would have forgotten how to do everything, having been away from my waiting job for such a long time, but once I stepped back into the pub everything came flooding back. It has been so nice to be reunited with the team and the transition has been much easier than I thought it would be. Every single guest has been lovely and really understanding which has made us even happier to be back. What has been changed in your pub post lockdown?There has been a lot to learn and get to grips with since we have reopened our Premium Country Pubs, but I’m grateful that these new measures are in place because it makes the pub feel like a safe place to work. The changes have been carefully planned so that you still get that warm and inviting pub feel and we have had lots of positive feedback from our guests which has been lovely!A couple of the main changes are…We ask all our guests to sanitise their hands when they arrive, and we explain the new safety measures to them.We do more detailed cleaning throughout the day for example, after each guest leaves we clean all table surfaces, table legs, chairs and chair legs before the next guests are seated.All our menus are now paper disposal ones, they are thrown away after our guests have used them.There is social distancing throughout the pub – our table layout has been changed to ensure our tables are at a safe social distance and there are social distancing signs around the pub to remind everybody of the new measures.How do you feel after your first week back and what’s been your favourite part?It’s really good to be back, the pub feels really safe and our guests are happy. It’s almost like there wasn’t a 3-month break (although my feet are adjusting more slowly to the new routine)! Being reunited with the team and welcoming our regulars back to the pub has easily been the best part of coming back to the work. We’ve kept in touch virtually as a team during the lockdown, but nothing beats seeing each other face to face.Find out more about #lifeatmabWe’re over the moon to have welcomed Casey back but the since the safety of our guests and staff is our number one priority we’re making sure that any changes made are in line with government guidelines. It’s the hard work of Casey and the rest of the team that has helped us provide a brilliant service for our guests, where everyone is safe, comfortable and reunited with their perfectly cooked 7oz Fillet Steak. Want to join the M&B family? Explore our bar jobs or find your perfect opportunity by searching our head chef jobs.

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It’s been just over three months since the doors of our pubs, restaurants and bars closed and our teams hung up their chef whites and poured their last pints. Here's Casey's story about what her first week back has been like.

Find out more
Steph  Baker

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Steph Baker

Steph  Baker

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Steph Baker

What it’s like to work as a Kitchen Skills Trainer with Mitchells & Butlers?

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Company update

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Blog

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2/3/2020

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️1️1 Mitchells & Butlers has 16 brands and over 1,500 pubs and restaurants spanning across the UK. All of our pubs and restaurants are looking for the next exciting dish that can offer a unique experience to each one of our guests. Much of the responsibility for this lies with our Kitchen Skills Trainers who work hard to develop new dishes and ensure our kitchens know how to bring them to life.To find out more about the role, we caught up with Daniel McLaughlin, Kitchen Skills Trainer with Mitchells & Butlers.     22 Tell us a little bit about your career journey so far? I joined Mitchells & Butlers because I liked what the company stood for. It’s people first & creating quality food. I joined as a Sous Chef and worked my way up through from Kitchen Manager to Accredited Kitchen Manager. Then I had the opportunity for a six-month secondment in the Pre-Openings team, responsible for the logistics and preparation for every Mitchells & Butlers pub and restaurant new opening and refurbishment. This was a great opportunity for me to understand more about different training styles. My aspiration has always been to be a Kitchen Skills Trainer, so I was really happy 18 months ago when I managed to make the jump to the next level. So, what’s involved in your day to day role? A big part of my role is to support menu development – everything from new menu ideas to deciding how each dish can be created in the kitchen. I consult the marketing team to look at how we can create new, exciting dishes in our kitchens. We have to ensure we have everything from the right kitchen equipment to training our kitchen leaders to make sure every dish is cooked to perfection! I’m really proud of the role I played to create the launch of the Moving Mountains burger in Vintage Inns pubs. I helped to develop a digital video module for our kitchen & waiting teams to watch, not only to find out how to cook, prepare and handle the new dish, but also to help understand why guests may choose the burger. What’s your biggest piece of to someone looking to climb the kitchen career ladder? Resilience is key, to make sure you can adapt to a fast-paced, ever changing environment. At Mitchells & Butlers there is a phenomenal network of Kitchen Skills Trainers and chefs who have the experience to help you progress. So definitely use them! Inspired by Daniel’s kitchen career journey? Head over to our kitchen jobs page, to find out more about a kitchen career with Mitchells & Butlers.

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Steven Miles

Steven Miles

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