Police officer, dog handler and carpenter were just some of the jobs that Jordan Butler thought about doing. However, he discovered his real career passion after studying Level 2 and 3 professional cookery at Walsall College. And his skills have improved through industry placements in restaurants where he has been rewarded for his hard work.
“I’ve been lucky to be offered a job at the restaurants I’ve completed work experience at,” said Jordan, whose impressive CV includes Bescot Stadium’s The Venue restaurant and Walsall College’s Littleton Restaurant. However, a 45-day industry placement at Fairlawns Hotel & Spa gave Jordan his biggest break, courtesy of a role as a commis-chef.
“I was offered the position after I’d completed my placement and I’ve been working there ever since,” explained Jordan. “I’ve helped to prepare dishes for the hotel bar, the spa, the main restaurant and the Sunday carvery. I’ve learned how to really push myself and get used to picking things up quickly.
“It’s helped me to get where I am now, so I’m grateful for the opportunity.
“I’m proud of how far I’ve come in such a short time, especially as I’m only just getting started.”
Not only is Jordan fast off the starting block with his career, he is also quick to use the vast experience gained at his industry placements to work towards becoming a head chef. Before this, he knows he must succeed in a role as a chef de partie, someone who is responsible for a specific section of a restaurant kitchen. After this comes the position of sous chef who is second in command to the head or executive chef.
“You do have to get the basics right first,” Jordan said. “Although I’m better at plating up food and in the way I approach tasks, there are always little things to pick up. You almost have to be a sponge because you have to absorb all the techniques and processes.”
For someone who initially thought it would be ‘scary’ for a student to spend time in a professional kitchen, Jordan now thinks the opposite.
“At first I wasn’t keen with the idea of catching two buses to work, then doing an eight-hour shift. But I knew how important this all was to my development,” Jordan added. “Now I can see how much fun it all is. There is always different food to prepare and new clients to meet.
“I love coming to work.”