Gemma started her culinary journey at Westminster Kingsway College where she trained for three years to achieve her diploma. To progress her skills, Gemma moved to Spain for 18 months and worked in different kitchens, finding her feet and honing her skills with the help of her experienced head chefs. On her return to London, Gemma worked under some prestigious names such as Aldo Zilli, the legendary Italian chef, and worked at the famous Pertus restaurant when it received its second Michelin Star.
These experiences were incredibly enjoyable and through them Gemma became a very accomplished chef. However, despite enjoying her time at traditional restaurants, she sought a different direction through contract catering. Gemma joined Compass Group UK & Ireland as a sous chef and within 18 months had moved to head chef followed by executive Chef within 3 years.
Gemma entered several competitions which drew attention to her name. The highlight of these came when she competed in the World Culinary Olympics in Erfurt in 2012. In the 2012 competition, Gemma was the only female in the UK to have won a gold medal and she was equally delighted and honoured to have competed again in 2016 as part of the Compass team where she picked up a bronze medal and once again competed as the only female chef in the team. Currently, Gemma is the executive chef for Chartwells, which aims to add value to the business and drive company standards. She also works alongside the central team to support Compass events and sales bids.
On Women in Food:
“Women in food is a fantastic initiative. Compass’s commitment of making up 50% of the workforce from female chefs is a huge step in the right direction and I am incredibly proud to be a part of it. I am part of the Women in Food board where I am able to give an insight into the industry from a female chef’s perspective. I am now also excited to be part of the Women in Food Ambassador Programme where I hope we can encourage people into our creative industry as well as supporting the successful career pathways of other female chefs.”
On Compass Group UK & Ireland:
“Compass group UK & Ireland is a fantastic organisation which offers growth to employees who are hungry for new adventures. Their values are priceless! We all have challenging days at work, but I'm proud to say I work for Chartwells and love supporting our employees and clients to deliver brilliant food all the time.”