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Amber Francis Joins Robin Gill as Head Chef at The Zebra Riding Club

Classically trained but forward thinking, at the age of 26 Amber has already worked at some of the UK, and the world’s, most respected restaurants. During school she joined Michelin-starred The Hand and Flowers and Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons for work experience and this cemented her idea of pursuing a career as a chef.

After her sweep of A Grade A’ Levels, she trained with Royal Academy of Culinary Arts and received a distinction for the diploma in 2017. The same year she was crowned highest achiever in Craft Guild of Chefs’ Graduate Awards Competition, before being named a rising star by the organisation, and going on to be one of the finalists in the National Chef of the Year competition.

Throughout her course, the Specialised Chef Scholarship, Amber worked as
an Apprentice Chef at The Ritz. Following graduation she joined The Ritz as Commis Chef. Amber trained in pastry for a year and excelled in sourdough making and viennoiserie. She then joined Robin Gill as Chef de Partie at his acclaimed Clapham restaurant The Dairy, and swiftly climbed the ranks reaching Senior Sous in just over a year.

When the restaurant closed Amber moved to Bermondsey Larder in 2020 to continue this role and was instrumental in the new opening, gaining recognition in CODE Hospitality’s ‘30 Under 30’ list. In 2021 Amber moved to Mediterranean small plates restaurant Brawn in Shoreditch as Senior Sous Chef. Here she enjoyed training up more junior staff and creating new dishes.

In April 2022, Robin asked Amber to take the lead at his restaurant The Zebra Riding Club at Birch in Hertfordshire. The 70 seat indoor/outdoor restaurant, located in the former stables of the hotel’s estate, follows a farm to table ethos using produce grown on Birch’s farm.

As Head Chef Amber manages seven people and works with the growing team to incorporate ingredients from the farm in her dishes. Amber’s passion for hospitality knows no bounds and she is constantly looking to learn via stages and volunteering such as with her work with Kelly’s Cause, where she is a Mental Health Champion. Amber has cooked at the three Michelin-starred Californian restaurants Benu and The French Laundry, and enjoys visiting schools to discuss the varied and rewarding careers within hospitality, after being so grateful for mentorship herself.

She has previously been a Culinary Lecturer at the College of Naturopathic Medicine and Young Chef Ambassador for Craft Guild of Chefs.

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