January 13, 2015, 5:29 am

Aleandro Brown, 19 years old, joined Carshalton College in 2013 on a Level 2 Professional Cookery Apprenticeship and completed his placement at local pub, The Sun, in Carshalton. After completing this level, Aleandro has now progressed to the Level 3 qualification and is working at Gordon Ramsey’s restaurant The Savoy Grill in London while attending College one day a week.

Aleandro moved to the UK from Jamaica with the ambition to follow his passion for cooking and work for a Michelin star restaurant. During his Apprenticeship at The Sun Aleandro worked 30 hours a week with Head Chef Gary Marshall producing a fresh seasonal menu offering daily specials, traditional classics such as burgers, fish & chips and a British roast on Sundays. This fast paced environment, taught Aleandro to think quickly, work under pressure and much more than he expected about working as a chef.

Tom Hall, Team Leader for Catering and Hospitality at Carshalton College, advised Aleandro if he wished to progress and be challenged in his career, he needed to apply to work at establishments in London to gain invaluable experience but be prepared for big lifestyle changes.

Aleandro took this advice and emailed Michelin starred restaurants in London and ones connected with famous chefs he admired. Gordon Ramsey’s restaurant, The Savoy Grill, invited Aleandro in for an interview with Head Chef Andy Cook and as part of the test gave him a set of ingredients to cook a dish on the spot. Aleandro prepared honey glazed salmon with sauté potatoes and kale and was offered a position the same day.

Tom Hall says the experience has made a huge difference to Aleandro’s focus and determination

“Aleandro has turned a corner since starting his Level 3 Apprenticeship. His mental and professional approach has developed significantly and his motivation &  enthusiasm shines through. I would be proud to have him as a member of my kitchen, he is a good team player and reliable. This experience working in industry on an Apprenticeship highlights the impact it has on student’s knowledge, ability and attitude.”

Aleandro talks about his experience so far

“My passion for cooking comes from my Jamaican roots and I wanted to move to the UK to get the experience of cooking with ingredients from different cultures. I learnt more than I expected working at The Sun and realised after completing my Level 2 qualification the variety of experience I could gain from working at different establishments with the Level 3 Apprenticeship would be a great progression.

Tom helped me push myself to apply for jobs which I knew would be hard work but give me the experience I needed to have a career as a Chef and hopefully own my own restaurant one day. I was thrilled when I got the job at The Savoy Grill. It was a shock going from working 30 hours a week to 70 hours a week and studying at College one day. We have 250 covers at lunch time and over 300 at dinner so the job is non stop. I have met Gordon Ramsey twice and you want him to be impressed, he is funny but takes things seriously. I produced a dish and he sent it back giving the advice that if it is not perfect, do not serve it. This is the motivation you need to produce food at the highest level, which is what I want to do.

For anyone wanting to be work in Catering I would say just believe in yourself and go for it. If you are determined, prepared to work hard and follow your dreams, anything can happen.”

Aleandro will complete his Apprenticeship in June 2015.

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