Founder (Underground Cookery School) – Matthew

Describe your job in couple of sentences:

Directing operations, administration and finance for The Underground Cookery school

When did you know what you wanted to do:

I left School in 1985 and set up the Cookery school in 2003; I only realized I wanted to be a chef in 1997, some 12 years after.

Did you go to university, go straight into the workforce or do an apprenticeship?
What did you study?

I started work immediately and did not attend University

What was your first job:
Does it relate to what you do now?

My first job was as an estate agent and in no way relates to my current job.

Have you done other jobs in your life – if so what were they:

After being an estate agent I did some telephone sales, and also field sales working for a company selling cakes, and whilst doing this I worked part-time in a number of restaurants as a chef.

Did they have any influence on what you do now?

Every job I’ve ever had has helped me become more confidant when facing suspects, prospects and customers, and also the sales experience throughout my career has been invaluable. Working as a chef gave me practical experience in the field in which I currently work.

How did you find out about your job (how it existed)?

Neither the job, nor the concept in which I operate existed before I started, I created both a job and working environment for myself.

How did you get the job you wanted- steps and process?

I started working as a chef in restaurants. It became apparent that wages were far lower then with sales jobs, so I had to find a way of doing something I enjoyed, whilst earning a realistic wage. A friend introduced me to someone who offered me premises in exchange for providing catering at events, and then I established how to make the venue work best for me, which was to run a cookery school offering corporate team building.

What qualities do you need to have to be successful in your field?

It’s the old cliché of hard work, dedication and a bit of luck. It also pays to be nice to everyone and never to forget the customer always comes first.

Give 3 tips for someone hoping to follow in your footsteps:

1.     Learn the trade from the bottom up.

2.     Be prepared to do any job.

3.     Make sure you love what you are doing, and if in doubt refer yourself to tips 1 & 2 as above.

Who inspires you?:

1.     My daughter.

2.     My friends.

3.     My competitors.