From becoming a personal chef for the king of Saudi Arabia, to working with a budget of £1.76 – this week, Nick shares his experiences and wisdom in episode 15
In our latest blog post, get time stamps and learn all about the latest episode of the Humans of Hospitality podcast. This week, Mark talks to Nick Leach from Portsmouth University about how the cheffing industry is ever changing – and it’s important now, more than ever, to be educating young chefs on produce.
00:00:00 Marks introduction
00:03:24 How did Nick start in Hospitality? School time, and the struggle of being the only boy in the home economics class
00:10:29 The turning point, competing in the culinary Olympics
- 00:12:16 “The actual lecturer that we had, he used to go around the classroom and he would just call out a potato dish in French. And if you could recite the ingredients and the recipe, you could go, but if you didn’t – he just went onto the next person.”
00:13:54 Why Nick prefers sauces to pastries – despite being so good at pastries
00:15:05 Being a chef, how it has changed
- 00:15:05 “The whole thing about being a chef is constantly tasting and adding, you know, a little bit of this and a little bit of that – and the Allergens, make that very difficult.”
00:18:06 Moving to Sheffield to become a su chef
00:19:30 Working for Beef Eaters – learning the books, stock takes, and what management means
00:20:45 Flying to Paris for an Interview, and ending up being the personal chef for the king of Saudi Arabia
00:24:30 Realising it was time to get back to the UK, feeling homesick
00:26:51 Going to work in London!
- 00:28:36 “And yeah, Friday night, the city stopped at lunchtime on Friday. Everybody went drinking. It was just, Oh, we had such fun times and it was just amazing. And I saw catering, which, which a lot of people will never see.
00:29:25 The coming of Black Monday – the worst crash of the stock market in the history of Wall Street
00:32:01 Going to work at Kings College Hospital
- 00:34:07 “The day after I started at kings, the environmental health officer came in and served the hospital with 150 infringement notices and 250 penalty notices – some of those with 24 hours notice on them.”
00:36:44 What brought Nick back to Portsmouth?
00:40:08 Working at Portsmouth Uni
- 00:41:51 “We’ve got 26,000 students and 3,000 staff. So if you looked at it, we’ve got a potential of 29,000 customers”
00:43:38 Getting chefs in training to learn that getting a job in the industry is harder than they may think, and always changing
00:46:47 Shouty ‘kitchen culture’
- 00:46:41 “The world in which we live has changed and it’s changed for the better. So we’ve got more diversity, we’ve got more culture, different cultures. We’ve got, you know, more dignity, dignity and respect and stuff like that. So a lot of change. And I think the kitchens of had to change with it.”
00:47:53 Talking about Gordon Ramsey and how to become the ‘best of the best’
00:51:41 Dynamics between professions at Portsmouth uni – why Nick talks to his head chef different to anyone else
- 00:53:25 “I bloody love the fact that you can still have an amazing career and amazing trajectory and be really proud of what you’ve achieved without having come from that kind of academic background, which is something that the industry should be proud of and should do more because it’s still too much looked down on.”
00:53:42 The pressures of margins on chef’s, and ‘no room for mistakes’ culture that has developed in recent years
00:56:32 The importance of using local produce and how it is changing the way the food industry works
- 01:00:39 Nick takes the team to meet the free range chickens that give them eggs
- 01:06:11 “I think farmers get a bad deal.
01:08:16 Meeting life-long friends in the Hospitality industry
- 01:11:09 “If you’ve got a real passion for that or even just the hospitality industry, it’s just a great place. You know, I’ve met some wonderful people and I’ve had something incredible times of, I’ve been to some amazing places in the world.”
01:12:11 Whats next for Nick? Retirement in five years?
01:14:00 Marks thanks, parting thoughts
Looking to learn a bit more about Portsmouth University and Nicks adventures? Listen to the full Podcast here, or check them out here: