So we’re nearing the end of our series of ‘5 Questions’. Todays chef is Shaun Rankin of Bohemia, Jersey. Currently with 4 rosettes & 1 Michelin star Shaun is keen to try to break the mould of past working practises and he works in conjunction with Basingstoke college to nurture new talent, having 2-3 college leavers join his team every year initially on stages then possibly on to full time employment. We’d obviously like to thank Shaun for taking time out of filming his new TV programmes to do the interview & his agent it all happen.
1. What would be your best piece of advice for a fresh face school leaver who is obsessed with ‘Food Porn’ looking to get into the industry?
Unfortunately the industry is quite misleading, somebody coming into catering must be aware that it takes hard work, passion & understanding of what it’s all about. If they are misguided, after 3-4years all the excitement will have run out.
2. What qualities are you looking for in your more junior chefs when recruiting new staff?
Commitment, savvy & be able to think for themselves, everything else we can teach them.
3. Would you recommend that staff do stages & how do people get to do a stage with you?
Stages are very good if you get a good one, I did some excellent ones in America & France. It’s bad if all you do is stand in the corner do the sh#t jobs nobody else wants to do for 3 weeks, you don’t learn anything. As for getting a stage with me, people can contact me at the restaurant .
4. In light of the recent death of a young chef through excessive hours (on average 100+ per week, for multiple weeks – See our post), does the industry need to change & what changes have you made to reflect this in your own kitchens?
Does need to change, it’s a must. The problem is that the chefs don’t own most restaurants. They run them for businessmen & partners. (At Bohemia)The kitchen staff start at 9am till end of lunch then back at 5.30pm till finish, I try to get them at least a 2 hour break in the afternoon. In London it’s difficult because you can’t really go home in 2 hours , so I think the restaurants make the most of this. It’s tough really because of the infrastructure, costs keep going up, cost of living(CH: you’re the meat in the sandwich?) yeah a little bit.
5. Do you think that the media (in particular television) have raised the profile of the industry in a positive way?
In some respects, just the odd programme that portrays some of us as dinosaurs. For us it lifted the profile of Bohemia which meant we were busier so we could take on more staff so hours were less.
For career opportunities with Shaun Rankin, contact him here;
Many thanks to Shaun for doing the ’5 Questions’ for the Chef Hermes Blog, it is much appreciated and hopefully an insight for our more junior readers.
The next ‘5 Questions’ have been sent and we’ve been told that the Chef is “on it”, but it would be unfair of us to say & then don’t deliver – so we won’t, sorry.