No easy road, but this chef is mak­ing his way to the top

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - LELAND ED­WARDS

THE Good Food and Wine show held last week is likely to have in­spired many young as­pi­rant chefs.

Those who’ve made the tran­si­tion from am­a­teur foodie to pro say the road to suc­cess in a restau­rant kitchen can be de­scribed as a high­way to hell, but the com­ple­tion of the jour­ney can be as sweet as a Gor­don Ram­say Panna Cotta.

For Ti­mothy Ed­wards, se­nior chef de par­tie at The Stack in Cape Town, that road has been any­thing but smooth.

“I was ex­tremely naughty at high school. I was never go­ing to make it and, af­ter fail­ing Grade 10, my fa­ther had the big ‘sit down’ with me. He asked if I wanted to con­tinue with school or go find a ca­reer in hospi­tal­ity? I chose my pas­sion.”

Bon­te­heuwel born and bred, Ed­wards ap­plied to Protea Col­lege and stud­ied fur­ther at TBISA, a pri­vate pro­fes­sional culi­nary school in Ob­ser­va­tory. It was dur­ing this time that he swung his first job in the South­ern Sun Ho­tel kitchen. There he helped pre­pare food for the se­nior chefs. Af­ter two years his big break came as ju­nior chef de par­tie (CDP) at the Com­modore Ho­tel. He stayed for three years be­fore mov­ing to Stack, where he has been the se­nior CDP for the past eight months.

He is re­spon­si­ble for the kitchen when the head chef or sous chef are not around.

“If you want to be­come a chef you have to have 100% com­mit­ment and ded­i­ca­tion. There will be times when you don’t get to see your own fam­ily or have a so­cial life. At the end of the day, though, when you reach that level in hospi­tal­ity you will reap (the re­ward) from all your sac­ri­fices.”

The con­ven­tional route into a fine din­ing kitchen is to at­tend a culi­nary school such as the Senses of Taste Chef School. At these schools, you are taught the ba­sic skills to op­er­ate in a pro­fes­sional kitchen and to de­liver work that is of an ac­cept­able stan­dard to em­ploy­ees and ex­ec­u­tive chefs. As Ed­wards proved, all hope is not lost if you did not com­plete high school.

There are more downs than ups in the culi­nary world, you have to be will­ing to work ex­tremely long hours, deal with the heat in the kitchen, keep up with or­ders and make sure food is served on time. There will also be times when you do not see your fam­ily or loved ones.

The ups are re­ward­ing and unique, such as be­ing able to be a part of art, sam­pling dif­fer­ent cuisines and cul­tures from around the world.

Ed­wards cites Bri­tish celebrity chefs Ram­say, Jamie Oliver and lo­cal stars Reuben Rif­fel and Reza and Jenny Mor­ris as his in­spi­ra­tion in the kitchen. His spe­cial­ity dish is foie gras.

Ed­wards re­ceived some ad­vice from world fa­mous Bri­tish celebrity chef Marco Pierre White at last week’s Good Food and Wine show.

“Don’t let your ego get to you, just do it for the love of cook­ing and food,” White told Ed­wards.

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