Renowned chef Marcus Wareing has urged young people to pursue the things they love because you never know what career opportunities they might unlock.
Speaking to students, the longstanding judge on MasterChef: The Professionals said he had never set out to work in television and encouraged them to follow their passions.
Mr Wareing is one of the most respected chefs in the UK. Having earned his first Michelin star aged just 26, he now runs the acclaimed Marcus restaurant at the Berkeley Hotel in addition to writing books and his television work. This has included producing a dessert for The Queen for her 80th birthday after winning that stage of the Great British Menu and the recent series Marcus Wareing’s Tales from a Kitchen Garden.
Speaking to Year 11 and Sixth Form in Benenden’s stunning new Centenary Hall, Mr Wareing said: “All the doors that have opened for me have been because I’ve knocked on that door and if I found that door locked I knocked on another one and another one. I never planned to run a restaurant, come to London, write books, I certainly didn’t plan to work in the world of TV, these things happened because I focused on the one thing I was passionate about: cooking.
“If you focus on what you love then you can do whatever you want to do.”
Mr Wareing was interviewed by Headmistress Samantha Price before it was students’ turn to ask questions.
When asked about encouraging healthy eating, he urged students: “Make your plate as colourful as possible; stop eating bland food and eat food that’s got colours: vegetables and fruit are full of colour and vitamins.
“It also comes down to your habits when purchasing food. Buy as much fresh produce as you possibly can and pull back on processed food. If you’re going to buy things like tomato ketchup, look for the alternative with less sugar. When baking at home start to take away 10 per cent of the sugar in the cookies or crumble you’re making, it will give you a better feeling and you start to actually enjoy the flavour rather than the sweetness of it.”
When asked about the stereotype of professional kitchens being hostile working environments, he said that times had changed. Mr Wareing said: “The kitchen was behind closed doors, somewhere you didn’t see. Today’s very different. You will see, in the majority of places you eat now, the kitchens are on show, the walls have come down, Hospitality is a very cool industry. You also get to choose the things you want to do, you’ll never be out of work. That view of what kitchens are like isn’t there anymore.”
Mr Wareing outlined the array of career opportunities available in the food industry, saying: “You can get yourself a degree while working on the job, you can work in five-star hotels, become a general manager, work in contract catering, food catering, factories, on a private yacht and travel the world, work in a restaurant. It’s an extraordinary industry if you peel away the layers, like an onion.”