Service with a smile 21 February 2020 Tom Kemble of the Pass at South Lodge cooks up a pumpkin masterclass and shares why it’s important for chefs to meet their customers
In this week's issue...Service with a smile Tom Kemble of the Pass at South Lodge cooks up a pumpkin masterclass and shares why it’s important for chefs to meet their customers
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The Caterer

Rufus Wickham – My worst job

22 January 2010
Rufus Wickham – My worst job

Rufus Wickham is head chef at Kettner's in London.

What was your worst job?

I was sent to a contractor as a chef de partie by a temping agency when I was 19. Apparently they were short-staffed and under pressure but when I got there a really dull sous chef sat in the office and gave me instructions while she gossiped and drank tea with another chef de partie.

What was so bad about it?

On my first day the sous chef handed me one of those old electric egg beaters with the two mini whisks that turn in on themselves and asked me to whip 40 litres of cream for piping onto Angel Delight!

They had a planetary mixer but I couldn't find any attachments; the only hand whisk I could find was a giant-sized one that looked like it had come from the clown act at Zippo's Circus.

However, it seemed kind of appropriate for the task, so I brushed off the dust and cobwebs that had gathered on it, rolled up my sleeves, poured the cream into a huge gastro and just went for it. I think they were a little scared of me after that - "who is this nutcase sweating and growling in our sleepy kitchen?".

What did you learn from the job?

Work hard - if you infect your workplace with energy and life you will be happy to go there every day.

What is the best bit of your current role?

The team at Kettner's has really gone through a renaissance. We have gone from strength to strength and have learnt to work together in the best possible way to get the most out of this incredibly challenging building.

When I started at Kettner's it was a really hard place in which to work. Now, through great teamwork, we have created an exciting and rewarding place to work in. It's a lot of fun to be here.

What's next?

To stand in a circle among the spent party poppers, Champagne corks and canapé crumbs, look each other in the eye, and toast a job well done.

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