My first job: Andrew Mitchell
PUBLISHED: 01:16 23 May 2011 | UPDATED: 19:26 20 February 2013
Andrew Mitchell, designer at Clive Christian Handcross
In 1981 at the age of seventeen I went straight from catering college to work as a commis chef at The Grand Hotel in Brighton. I had seen the position advertised in a catering magazine and decided to go for it. The interview with the head chef was pretty nerve wracking, but I must have made a good impression as out of 200 applicants I got the job.
At that time the hotel had a total of around 38 chefs, and the kitchen was run to very high standards. The head chef ran a tight ship, and I learnt how to work well as part of a team in a disciplined environment. The kitchens were in the basement rooms then, some of which were previously used as an ammunition stores in WW2. Even though it was a big area there were no windows, so it was incredibly hot, and it was a long working day, starting at 7am and ending most nights at 11 pm.
The job was an excellent grounding in the various aspects of working in a professional kitchen, including vegetable preparation, butchery, sauces and pastry. I also made some good friendships there despite (or perhaps because of!) the pressured environment. I was at the hotel for two years and left the year before The Grand became the site of the Brighton hotel bombing.
Knowing my way around a kitchen and how it should be laid out to work properly was the springboard to learning about furniture design, and I now have over 20 years experience. I also still enjoy cooking for family and friends, so there are quite a few elements of my first career choice that have stayed with me for life.