When Jamie Gay started his career in catering, he couldn’t have dreamed that within a few years he would be working for a Michelin star chef.
The 18-year-old apprentice has been working as a trainee chef at the Red Lion pub in East Chisenbury since September alongside owner Guy Manning and said: “I couldn’t not take this amazing opportunity and even though I’ve only been here a short amount of time, it has been fantastic!”
Jamie joined Wiltshire College straight from school in 2015, where he studied the Level 1 and 2 courses in Professional Cookery.
“I really enjoyed my time at the Trowbridge campus.
“I learned so many skills and being able to work in the White Horse Restaurant was an added bonus as it gave us all real life experience preparing and creating dishes and also serving to customers.
“I was also able to work part time alongside the course so on the days I wasn’t in college I was at my local pub, The Kings Arms, in All Cannings.
“I really miss my lecturer Steve and also Helen, the technician, they were so knowledgeable and experienced, I learned so much from them.”
Whilst working at The Kings Arms, Jamie said he enjoyed the opportunity to devise a menu for some of the music industries stars during Catering for the Kings, a charity event often described as ‘the biggest small festival in the world’.
He said that also gave him the opportunity to work with different chefs, which he believes is a positive in the catering industry.
“Every chef has their own way and that was one of my reasons for wanting to do an apprenticeship, so that I could work with a different chef as well as further the knowledge I learned on the Level 1 and 2 courses, he said.”
A typical day for Jamie, who is the first to study a Chef de Partie Advanced Apprenticeship through the College, begins at 7.30am when he will check the orders, make stocks and help the other chefs in the kitchens.
Jamie said: “The hours for a chef are long, so it needs to be something you love doing like I do, but Guy has shown me the importance of preparation, which is absolutely critical.
“We are almost working two days in advance here.
“One of the other things that is completely different is how we make stocks.
“I’ve been making stocks ever since I started catering, but Guy has a different way of doing his and so I’ve had to learn that.”
Guy and his wife Brittany, who is a pastry chef, have been running the pub for the past nine years, and were thrilled that he was awarded a Michelin star in 2013, which they retained ever since.
“I’ve spent nine years and won’t compromise.
“I want perfection but you never stop learning and that’s what makes it interesting.
“That’s why I also want to help train the next generation of chefs.
“It is definitely an investment of my time as I am teaching him but it is also very rewarding and Jamie has a great attitude.
“It’s quite inspiring for him to work alongside other youngsters in the kitchen and I think what he has learned already is that it is about repetition here to be the best you can be.
“One thing I did notice straight away about Jamie was his knife skills and that is a compliment to the college.”
“The industry is at a critical point and we have struggled to get people who are committed, but we have a great team and Jamie is part of that.”
For more information about apprenticeships visit www.wiltshire.ac.uk and if you fancy eating in a Michelin star pub visit http://www.redlionfreehouse.com/.