Owen Burgess’ passion for cooking has led him on a unique journey. Having completed his A-levels at Queens’ School Sixth Form, there was no option to study a food related qualification there, so he took photography on instead. However, he quickly realised that he wanted to be in the kitchen, not behind the lens.
Owen joined Compass Group UK & Ireland on the Kickstarter programme in July 2021. During his six months on the Kickstarter programme, Owen got hands-on experience in the kitchen. Gradually, he took on more responsibilities, such as health and safety and being in charge of food prep. This experience led Owen to take the plunge into the Commis Chef Apprenticeship programme.
As an apprentice, Owen completes all of his in-house training at stadiums with Levy UK+I, while undergoing theory work too. He is able to learn different styles of cooking from the chefs that work in the stadiums on match days, which is a unique experience. Owen also enjoys the theory side, where he can partake in interactive workshops, created as part of the course, for those who are working alongside learning.
Since joining the apprenticeship programme, Owen has been able to take on more responsibilities, over-seeing the prep of fine dining food and co-running one of the restaurants where he takes on the majority of cooking in service while managing a team of three on a busy match day. Owen helps to create different menus for every game, so in the two seasons that Owen has experienced, he has cooked around 42 menus – including three Christmas menus, which included a six-course a la carte menu.
On his course, Owen has been able to design and cook a menu from scratch, and he has decided to make an entirely gluten-free menu, substituting the usual food items for a gluten-free alternative. Owen said: "The freedom to experiment with the guidance and support system of the apprenticeship course is really rewarding. I get the benefit, as well as the enthusiasm, of every chef I meet and I am so grateful for the opportunity."
The next step for Owen after he completes his apprenticeship is to train as a Chef de Partie and keep his skills growing. He wants to stay in Levy because he enjoys stadium work, and he continues to learn with every game, every menu change, and with every chef he meets. Owen's journey, dedication and passion show there are #nolimits at Compass Group UK & Ireland.
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