Name: Roxanne Allen
Job title: Demi Chef de Partie
Pub/Bar Company: The Anthologist, Drake & Morgan
Qualifications: Level 2 NVQ Professional Cookery, Level 3 VQR Professional Cookery
“I love getting stuck in to new challenges and getting my hands dirty,” says Roxanne Allen, a 19 year old Demi Chef de Partie at The Anthologist, London.
Hailing from Essex, Roxanne makes an hour-long journey into the City of London to get into the kitchen for 8am. A typical day involves replenishing the previous night’s stock before prepping for a 12.30 lunch service on her designated section – starters, salads and her personal favourite – desserts.
“I used to struggle with patience, but after learning about the delicate nature of pastries, I now love taking time to create each little masterpiece. They require a lot of skill and can be very time consuming due to the intricate details but you get a sense of accomplishment on seeing the finished product.”
A short break after lunch service finishes at 2pm, and Roxanne is back to prepping for the evening. “Being a chef is not a glamorous job. We work long hours and are on our feet all day, but it’s worth it.”
Despite being just nineteen, Roxanne has already been in the hospitality industry for five years; working firstly as a silver service waitress at a local golf club from age 14 and then part time in a bar, whilst studying for her professional cookery qualifications at college.
“I originally wanted to be a chef in the Army, but my fitness levels weren’t up to scratch, so I spent two years studying and haven’t looked back since!”
It was through her bar job that Roxanne met the Head Chef of the Anthologist and consequently landed her first kitchen role. Seven months in and she loves every second of it. “You can progress quickly as long as you put the work in,” says Roxanne, who has moved up from Commis Chef to Demi Chef de Partie in just 6 months.
Working in the midst of the City, every day is consistently busy; something Roxanne relishes as it means that she is continually learning new skills. “I’ve learnt more in the last six months on the job than I did at college, but my qualifications have ensured that I pick things up much faster and have prepared me for the fast-paced life in the kitchen.”
As the only female in the Anthologist kitchen, Roxanne has felt the pressure, “As a woman, you do feel like you have something to prove in a male dominated kitchen, but cooking is my passion and I have learnt so much already from my fellow chefs.
We are all extremely close, as a chef, you often spend more time at work than you do at home, so we have become more than just a team, we are a family.”
As a young kitchen team of many different nationalities, Roxanne loves the fact that she can learn from other cultures. “Everyone has been taught different cooking styles and I’ve been fortunate enough to pick up new tricks from the other chefs.
In the future, I hope to be able to work in restaurants overseas, using the transferrable skills that I’ve gained. There’s always a mouth to feed, wherever you are in the world and everyone speaks the same language in food!”