Quinn celebrates 40 years in the kitchen

19 July 2001
Quinn celebrates 40 years in the kitchen

A chef who beat alcoholism to return to his career is celebrating 40 years in the business at the end of this month.

Michael Quinn, who now works at Newbury Manor hotel in Berkshire, will celebrate his 40 years as a chef on 31 July.

"I'll be cooking breakfast as usual, so I can take the night off to go to an AA meeting," he said.

Quinn's career started in 1961 as an apprentice chef at the Queen's hotel in Leeds, and subsequent posts included chef de cuisine at Kildwick Hall and the Bridge Inn, both in Yorkshire, and at the Bear hotel, Oxford.

In 1981, Quinn became the first British chef to oversee the kitchens at the Ritz hotel in London. On leaving in 1985, he was awarded an MBE for reviving the Ritz's culinary reputation and services to the catering industry.

From this peak of success, Quinn's chronic alcoholism put him in a downward spiral that meant he was too ill to work properly until 1995, when Lord Rothschild employed him in his dairy kitchen.

Quinn said the response to this magazine's feature about alcoholism in the industry (Caterer, 28 June, page 28) had been "fantastic".

Quinn had set up the Ark Foundation to help human resources units deal with alcoholic employees within the catering industry. Its Web site had more than 500 hits in the days following the 28 June issue.

The number of the foundation's trustees has jumped from four to 10 since the article appeared.

by Ben Walker

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