Philip Corrick has called time on his 29-years as executive chef of the Royal Automobile Club in London's Pall Mall and looks on to new adventures.
Corrick entered the hospitality industry at the age of 14, when he secured a part time job peeling potatoes and washing dishes at the Wyndham hotel in Sidmouth, Devon, under chef-owner Martyn Perryman. Despite initially being unconvinced by a career that would dominate weekends and evenings, he secured a place in catering college with the help of his boss.
Corrick explained: "He kept pushing and pushing so I wrote a letter to the college and received a response saying I might be called for an interview. He knew the head of department and he phoned him up and gave him all this rubbish saying I could make souffles and do all sorts of things I couldn't. He got me the place and then my motivation was to work hard to make sure I didn't let him down. That's stuck with me all my life. He gave me a chance and put me on the road to the career I've had, and I've loved every minute of it."
After holding positions at the Berkeley and Claridge's in London and completing stages in Italy, Corrick secured his first executive chef position at the Westbury hotel in Mayfair in 1994. He would go on to take the helm at nearby Grosvenor House before moving to Royal Automobile Club in 1990, overseeing a team of approximately 95-chefs across its two properties in London's Pall Mall and Epsom, Surrey.
Explaining why he remained in the role for almost three decades Corrick said: "Every day was a challenge; every day was different. I was given pretty much free rein and lots of support. Some of the outdoor events we've done have been incredible, including going down to Monaco for the Bentley Drivers Club at the historic Grand Prix."
Other events have included many restaurant promotions with leading chefs, the annual Epsom Derby and London Motor Week, as well as the club's centenary in 1997. The chef has also taken part in countless charity events and encouraged the next generation to continue to "pull together to deliver and raise money".
Throughout his 29-years at the Royal Automobile Club, training and supporting young chefs has been priority for Corrick, inspired by the example of Perryman. In 2015 the club formed a scholarship in his name in recognition of his work, which sees two or three of his chefs take on stages in some of the world's best hotels and restaurants.
Corrick explained: "The club recognised that training is a massive part of what I do and it's one of the things I get great pleasure from. The club gives me a pot of money each year and its an opportunity to send some of our up-and-coming stars on stages. It's a fantastic inspiration and motivation for the team, it gives them something to work for."
He added: "Sometimes we get bad publicity in our industry, but it's a fantastic industry. I've been doing it for 40 years and I've loved it. You can leave school without too many O-levels or A-levels, you just need the motivation and the enthusiasm, and the rest will come. I think we have to look after our people and create the right impression, so the industry continues to beat down this skills shortage. We've got to get out and inspire people."
While the chef maybe taking a step back from the stove, he is not leaving the hospitality industry and has taken over a holiday cottage business called Bulverton House in Sidmouth, which he will run with his family.
Replacing him at the Royal Automobile Club will be Matthew Marshall, previously executive chef of the Ace hotel in Shoreditch, east London. It's a return to the club for Marshall who spent two years as sous chef at the venue.
Corrick added: "I wish him good luck and I hope that the club continues to grow, and he grows with it, it's an amazing business."