Blurred background of a restaurant

James’ recipe for cooking up a progressive kitchen career

James’ recipe for cooking up a progressive kitchen career

Emily Smith our consultant managing the role
Date posted: 03/02/2022

We recently heard from James Chilongo, an Accredited Kitchen Manager, who told us about his amazing career journey with M&B – his words! When asked why he wanted to join us, James said that he felt we had the best opportunities for progression and job security, and that over the years its proven to be true.

Having started with us in 2007, James gradually worked his way up the ranks, working for four different M&B brands: Nicholson’s, Oak Tree, Sizzling Pubs and most recently High Street pubs. Career progression is just one of many benefits we offer at M&B, because we value our people and encourage them to develop their skills, or even try new opportunities if they want to.

Tell us about your career journey with M&B

‘I joined as a chef and by the end of 2008, I was made Kitchen Lead. Then in 2010 I was part of a cohort of Kitchen Leads who were promoted to Kitchen Manager positions. It felt so rewarding that my hard work was recognised!

In 2012, I was one of 12 Kitchen Managers to be nominated to help Retail Business Managers (RBMs) and their districts as Accredited Kitchen Managers (AKMs), a role I’ve been in until recently when I was promoted to Kitchen Investment Trainer, starting January 2022.’

How have you been supported throughout the development of your kitchen career?

‘I’ve worked with great RBM, Kitchen Skills Trainers, and Pub Managers, who have all been kind, supportive and helpful with my career development and progression. Darren, my current RBM, and Mark, my current Kitchen Skills trainer, have really helped me believe in myself, giving me the confidence to train and support other chefs.

During my career, M&B have supported me through fantastic training MABLE programs which have really helped. Additionally, in 2019, I become the first employee at M&B to qualify and be awarded the Departmental Operational Manager Diploma Level 5 through Lifetime Apprenticeships.’

With a blend of determination, hard work, and making the most of the wide range of opportunities we have on offer, James’ kitchen career at M&B has flourished. And remember, Apprenticeships aren’t just for school leavers; at M&B we believe it’s never too late to start learning!

What are some key traits needed to progress a kitchen career?

James shared his top 5 ingredients to successfully progress your kitchen career, and they are spot on:

1. Work hard

2. Know what you want; have a plan

3. Stay focused, positive, and determined. Even though some days may be tough, stick to it

4. Seek help and support. Don't be afraid to fail, ask for feedback, live the M&B values

5. Have self-awareness. Use different leadership styles, work on your communication and negotiation skills, be tough when you need to, and be gentle as everyone is different.

At M&B, it’s our culture that makes work so worthwhile, so in our kitchens and across our whole business, we like to be considerate of all our teams and their feelings. We’re a big family, striving to be a more inclusive employer, and we’re making progress, but we’ve got a long way to go.

What is the best thing about working as part of a kitchen team?

‘The best part is working as a team; we work hard, but we laugh and joke a lot. Over the years I have made fantastic working relationships with teammates, and we have ended having great friendship outside of the kitchen.’

The sense of solidarity that comes with working in hospitality is unrivalled in any other sector, which is why we celebrate working with our besties as so many of our teams end up as life-long friends.

Do you have any advice for someone thinking of bringing their kitchen career to M&B?

‘Be yourself, enjoy the job, set out a clear career path, and stay focused in order to get to where you want to be. M&B reward hard working individuals, and I am an example of it.’

We couldn’t have put it better ourselves!

A recipe for success at M&B

At M&B, we like to reward our hardworking staff with the career progress they desire, and we encourage them to gain experience in a variety of areas to build their skillset.

We’re creating opportunities for anyone, from any background, with any level of experience, who is willing to work hard and get stuck in. If you’ve been inspired by James’ story and you’re looking for your next challenge, take a look at our available kitchen jobs today.

List #1

Some articles you might like

chef with chef hat mixing up salad in a bowl in a kitchen
Uncover the go-to comfort foods of our talented chefs at M&B

Teaser

Kitchen

Content Type

Blog

Publish date

06/05/2024

Summary

At Mitchells & Butlers, our chefs are the heartbeat of our kitchens, infusing passion into every dish they craft. But what about when they need a little culinary comfort themselves?  We've delve

Teaser

Find out more
Rebecca Skeet

by

Rebecca Skeet

Rebecca Skeet

by

Rebecca Skeet

4 people stood in a kitchen, one with their back to the camera, each are wearing striped aprons and chef hats.
What skills do you need to be a Kitchen Assistant?

Teaser

Kitchen

Content Type

Blog

Publish date

05/02/2024

Summary

Ready to turn up the heat in the kitchen? Whether you’re moving between Mitchells and Butlers brands or teams, or looking for an exciting new role, there are plenty of kitchen assistant skills that

Teaser

Find out more
Rebecca Skeet

by

Rebecca Skeet

Rebecca Skeet

by

Rebecca Skeet

A smiling man in a grey shirt in a restaurant kitchen stood in front of four plates of food.
What does a Kitchen Assistant do?

Teaser

Kitchen

Content Type

Blog

Publish date

04/25/2024

Summary

Think that being a Kitchen Assistant is a boring job with no career progression? Think again! That’s just one of many big myths about working in a kitchen. There’s much more to being a Kitchen Assista

Teaser

Find out more
Rachael Langley

by

Rachael Langley

Rachael Langley

by

Rachael Langley

Young woman serving bright cocktail on a bar with fully stocked shelf of spirits as a backdrop
Why working in a pub is the best summer job for students

Teaser

General

Content Type

Blog

Publish date

04/24/2024

Summary

Evenings are staying lighter for longer and the days are growing warmer. Dare we say summer is on the way? If you’re thinking “How can I make money as a student?” and are keen to make some extra cas

Teaser

Find out more
Jess Birch

by

Jess Birch

Jess Birch

by

Jess Birch

sous chef standing over a kitchen apprentice watching them prep food
What skills do you need to be a sous chef?

Teaser

Kitchen

Content Type

Blog

Publish date

04/05/2024

Summary

Step into the kitchen with us as we delve into the world of sous chefs! You know what a sous chef job is all about, but have you ever wondered what it takes to be a great sous chef? When it comes

Teaser

Find out more
Rachael Langley

by

Rachael Langley

Rachael Langley

by

Rachael Langley

Waitress bringing food to the couple by the table
How to navigate hospitality interview questions

Teaser

General

Content Type

Blog

Publish date

02/28/2024

Summary

Welcome to your go-to guide for mastering hospitality interviews! Working in a pub, bar or restaurant is like no other job. It’s a whirlwind of excitement, human connection and showing guests a good t

Teaser

Working in a pub, bar or restaurant is like no other job. It’s a whirlwind of excitement, human connection and showing guests a good time.

Find out more
Amandeep Chahal

by

Amandeep Chahal

Amandeep Chahal

by

Amandeep Chahal

chef wearing chef whites and hat spooning sauce into a pot
What does a sous chef do?

Teaser

Pub and restaurant

Content Type

Blog

Publish date

02/27/2024

Summary

“Sous chef” literally means “under-chief”. But enough with the language lesson. Let's get to the juicy stuff.  Being a Sous Chef is all about keeping the kitchen humming and the food steadily flowing

Teaser

“Sous chef” literally means “under-chief”. But enough with the language lesson. Let's get to the juicy stuff.

Find out more
Amandeep Chahal

by

Amandeep Chahal

Amandeep Chahal

by

Amandeep Chahal

two men wearing chef's whites cooking in a commercial kitchen
What can you expect from head chef responsibilities?

Teaser

Kitchen

Content Type

Blog

Publish date

01/29/2024

Summary

So you want to dive into the world of head chefs and unravel what goes on behind the scenes? Gone are the days when Ratatouille was our go-to kitchen reference. Nowadays, with a smorgasbord of films

Teaser

While each kitchen dances to its unique rhythm, some things remain true no matter what. Let's uncover the head chef responsibilities you'll find in any role.

Find out more
Amandeep Chahal

by

Amandeep Chahal

Amandeep Chahal

by

Amandeep Chahal

Leadership in every bite: Elevate your chef skills at M&B

Teaser

Kitchen

Content Type

Blog

Publish date

01/29/2024

Summary

Chefs make great leaders. It's just in their DNA. They know how to keep a cool head under pressure, understand what makes great teamwork, always look for a chance to learn something, and take every op

Teaser

Chefs make great leaders. It's just in their DNA.

Find out more
Amandeep Chahal

by

Amandeep Chahal

Amandeep Chahal

by

Amandeep Chahal

male chef cooking in restaurant kitchen
Busting the big myths about working in the kitchen

Teaser

Kitchen

Content Type

Blog

Publish date

12/13/2023

Summary

What springs to mind when you picture a kitchen? Maybe you see a busy space, with lots of people in their chef whites. But do you see any females? If you don’t, then we won’t hold it against yo

Teaser

Find out more
Hazel Laughey

by

Hazel Laughey

Hazel Laughey

by

Hazel Laughey

Jobs

Jobs you might like...

Head Chef In Training - Chester

Salary

Up to £34000.00 per annum

Location

Mitchells and Butlers – North West, George St, Chester CH1 3EQ, UK

Departments

Head Chef-Kitchen Manager

Hours

Full Time

Vacancy Type

Regional role

Brand

Mitchells & Butlers

Location

Chester

Description

Do you have experience of leading a team to success in the Kitchen and fancy making a move? Or maybe you fancy bringing your kitchen management skills to the pub and restaurant business.Based within a

Reference

2190997

Expiry Date

01/01/0001

Sophie Dawson

Author

Sophie Dawson
Apply Add to shortlist
Head Chef In Training - Live in (Liverpool & Wirrall)

Salary

Up to £32000.00 per annum

Location

Mitchells and Butlers – North West, Bold St, Liverpool L1 4DS, UK

Departments

Head Chef-Kitchen Manager

Hours

Full Time

Vacancy Type

Regional role

Brand

Mitchells & Butlers

Location

Liverpool

Description

Do you have experience of leading a team to success in the Kitchen and fancy making a move? Or maybe you fancy bringing your kitchen management skills to the pub and restaurant business.Based within a

Reference

2190972

Expiry Date

01/01/0001

Sophie Dawson

Author

Sophie Dawson
Apply Add to shortlist
Head Chef Opportunities

Salary

£35000.00 - £40000.00 per annum plus bonus

Location

Mitchells and Butlers – London, Windsor Walk, London SE5 8BB, UK

Departments

Head Chef-Kitchen Manager

Hours

Full Time

Vacancy Type

Regional role

Brand

Mitchells & Butlers

Location

London

Description

As Head Chef at Join us at Mitchells & Butlers, the heart of hospitality. With over 1,600 businesses we’re the home of some of the nation's favourite restaurants, bustling bars, cosy country pubs and

Reference

2205463

Expiry Date

01/01/0001

Kayleigh Kelly Apply Add to shortlist
 

job search