Five years after starting his apprenticeship at the Michelin (Bib Gourmand) award-winning The Green Restaurant in Sherborne, Dorset, Jack, 24 has recently been promoted to restaurant manager. Here he talks about his apprenticeship and what it has meant to him.
Was an apprenticeship always part of your plan?
No it wasn’t! But after doing some research it seemed like the best option to help me get into the hospitality industry.
How did you come across your apprenticeship?
It was actually by chance. My father ran a bakery next door to the Green restaurant in Sherborne and I found out through my Dad that there was an opportunity for an apprenticeship next door, so I applied!
Can you give us a brief run through of what your apprenticeship consisted of? Tasks, etc.
My apprenticeship involved learning about all aspects of the restaurant industry as well as getting an in-depth knowledge of food and local produce, how to work methodically and how to tackle challenges in a professional manner.
Sourcing ingredients is a vital component of running a restaurant, how important is sustainable sourcing to you?
Sustainable sourcing is very important to me and to the restaurant; not only is the quality of the produce superior but it allows you to be inventive with your dishes and proud of what you serve.
What is your favourite item on the menu?
My favourite item currently on our menu is the Trout Gravlax as it is 100% local and uses home grown herbs, Dorset salt and our homemade caviar.
Do you think that apprenticeships could be the future of the restaurant industry?
I think apprenticeships give young people the chance to learn an invaluable skill and it sets them up for a career in the industry. Also, they help to bring new recruits into an industry that already has a skills shortage. I do believe we have to encourage more young people to do apprenticeships.
If you could run a restaurant anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
It would have to be Dorset – it is where I grew and there is an abundance of wonderful produce here.
The hospitality industry is ever changing, what changes have you seen in your time at The Green Restaurant?
In the six years I’ve worked at The Green Restaurant, I’ve noticed customers care more about where the food is sourced, which is great for us.
If you could pick any three chefs from throughout history to work in your kitchen, who would you choose?
Nico Ladenis – His restaurant changed British cooking and his method and ethos still run throughout many kitchens today.
Pierre Gagnaire – For pushing food forwards and using natural ingredients to create bright exciting plates of food.
Sasha Matkevich (Founder and Head Chef at The Green Restaurant) – He has taught me everything I know.
What advice would you give to those unsure of apprenticeships? Both employers and potential apprentices.
To work in this industry you need to be 100% sure it is right for you, as it is long hours and hard work, but also very rewarding. Apprenticeships give people a chance to continue studying while following their passion.