Fab 5: Most valuable advice

This month we ask five fab chefs for to share the most valuable advice they know…

Catriona Macdougall, 
cookyourselfhappier.com One of my first jobs after cookery school was at the Ubiquitous Chip in Glasgow, where the head chef told me: “Health is wealth, so pace yourself.” He told me to eat properly and take breaks throughout the day, and he emphasised how important it was to relax after work, especially if it had been frantic and stressful.

Alan Faenza, El Paso, Jesmond
The best bit of advice I’ve received is not to settle with what you’re good at – you should go out and try different cuisines. Chefs need to push boundaries and branch out of our comfort zones. We should visit other places and wait for an opportunity to arise there because those are the places that will make you a better chef.


Lizzy Hodcroft, The Sweet Beet
My friend David Dixon, back when we were both studying as chefs at Newcastle College, always said you should taste everything, and he’s right. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve made a dish – taste it. Make sure you know exactly what you are sending out of your kitchen, take ownership and be proud of your food.


Martin Charlton, The Old Boat House Food Group
Head chefs and business owners need to lead by example. Across our group of restaurants we have five apprentices at the moment and loads of our team have grown from pot washers into chefs, bakers and front of house. We think of the team as family and that’s really important.


Craig Harvey, Close House
To learn the skills you need to be a great chef, you have to work with the best. I’ve been lucky enough to work with the likes of Gordon Ramsay, John Williams and Terry Laybourne and the lessons I’ve taken from each of them have served me so well throughout my career. It’s important that young chefs experience as many kitchens and places as possible and take on the best bits from each.

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