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Home News Job profile - sous chef in The Green Room

Job profile - sous chef in The Green Room

Home News Job profile - sous chef in The Green Room
Sous chef Matthew Jackson Sous chef Matthew Jackson

Meet our sous chef Matthew Jackson.

Name: Matthew Jackson

Job title: Sous chef

Employer: Rosehill Arts Trust Ltd

Age: 25

Place of birth: Bolton

Where do you live? Workington

Where do you work? The Green Room at Rosehill, Moresby, under head chef Jon Fell.

How long have you done this job: I joined The Green Room at Easter so I’ve only been here a short time!

Take us through a typical day: I usually arrive between 8/9am, lights on, ovens hot, fridges checked and temperature recorded, and the mise en place [preparation of dishes and ingredients before service] list reviewed and altered if needed. Suppliers arrive between 9am and 11am and produce is checked and stored as required. Preparation of produce begins at around 9.30am and all prep work should be well under way by the time the lights on the pass are hot.

Lunch service begins at 12pm and all stations should be well prepared before then. By 2/3pm lunch service is usually slowing down and more time is available to get the evening prep under way (we’re open throughout the day from 12pm Wednesday to Saturday, while on Sundays we open 12-4pm).

By 5pm all prep for the day is complete and we can get ready for the evening. I try to squeeze in a couple of hours of experimental cooking each day, to keep things fresh in my head and come up with new ideas.

Final orders are placed by 8.45pm and our close down of the kitchen is usually done by 9.30pm, MEP list is produced for the following day, all fridges are checked again, orders are given to our suppliers, and floors can be swept and mopped for the next day to start smoothly. Lights out in the kitchen by 10pm and relax, ready to do it all again tomorrow.

What do you like most about the job? Experimental cooking, developing new techniques and working with specially sourced produce.

What do you like least? The rare slow days, when the clock seems to go backwards. It’s not that I want the day to end quickly, but I feel like I achieve more when I’m running around crazily trying to get everything done in time. I like to be constantly busy and always pushing forward, learning and improving.

Why did you want to do this job? This line of work is great, there are no boundaries to what can be achieved – only the ones in your head. Anything can be achieved if you keep working at it and keep pushing yourself. I really like the problem-solving aspect of being a chef, not everything works out perfectly the first time but it’s about how you go about fixing it and figuring out why it hasn’t worked the way you envisioned.

The work of a chef is constantly evolving, new and exciting techniques are being discovered constantly. Some may say classic cooking is the best, but I’ve always found more modern cuisine to be more exciting and provocative in the mind.

What jobs have you done previously? I’ve got around eight years’ cooking experience. I’ve worked in various places around the Lake District, some big hotels, some gastro pubs, some smaller, more intimate restaurants, and I’ve picked up some great experience. It’s been a brilliant journey so far and I’m very excited for what The Green Room has to offer.

I started in hospitality, working front of house, managing some pubs and restaurants along the way, working in a Michelin-starred restaurant and learning the heights of hospitality. I then moved into the kitchen and fell in love with food. Since then I’ve been constantly learning and picking up new techniques. I’ve gradually developed my own style of cooking and I’m enjoying experimenting a lot more, especially molecular cooking, working with different chemicals and machinery.

What qualifications or experience do you need? No official qualifications are needed to start working in a kitchen, although a basic food hygiene course should be completed if you are to handle food. These are easily available at local colleges and can even be completed online for a small cost. To start in a professional kitchen I’d say you only need the passion and drive to push forward.

What is a typical salary? This can vary massively. Salary comes down to experience and style of cuisine, so I’d say anywhere from £14,000 to £200,000 – but I’m sure Gordon Ramsay earns a lot more!

Any advice for people wanting to get into your profession? Always ask questions. All chefs should be willing to pass on knowledge and teach, it’s the only way the profession will continue to grow. Don’t be afraid to try something new. If you come up with an idea for a dish, try it. If it doesn’t work first time, try it differently and change your process until you achieve the desired effect.

Also find a good head chef to learn from, soak up as much knowledge as you can as you develop your career, and don’t forget to write everything down. If you’ve written down that recipe you’ve just tried, then if it doesn’t work perfectly the first time you can go back and change something – a little black book is a chef’s best friend.

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