Prior to attending College, I had already been working as a chef for two years, gaining knowledge and experience throughout. So when it came to the time to choose my next step with regards to education, there was only ever going to be one choice, and that was catering and hospitality at College.
I chose to go to Canterbury College because it perfectly suited the career path that I wanted to go down, rather than studying at sixth form or university. I had heard good things about the learning experience, too.
I have some fantastic memories of College. Level 2 and Level 3 were especially great because I was learning alongside like-minded students who had a real zeal and drive for success – this made learning in the kitchen a special environment. There was a good balance of both theory and practical work, too.
Soon after leaving College I went to work in one of Kent’s most valued restaurants and I learned a lot of valuable skills with regards to food preparation and presentation. I had to work to a really high standard, which was tricky at times, especially during a busy service. However, it was crucial for me as a young chef to gain these skills. Later, I stepped up to become a sous chef in one of my friend’s pubs. This was stepping out of my comfort zone to begin with, but I soon found my feet and learned how to run a team and become ‘assistant manager’ material in the kitchen, so I was very thankful for that opportunity.
Following on from that I managed to land a pretty exciting job in London, catering for high-profile celebrities and sporting names. I was catering for events such as boxing matches, champions league football games, and my favourite of all – the BRIT awards.
The thing I find most rewarding about my career is the personal sense of achievement. Anyone can cook if they put their mind to it, but to successfully get through a service is a great feeling and not just ‘anyone’ can do this. I love bringing joy to people’s lives by providing good food. Every day is different, and you get out what you put in.
Due to the pandemic, the lack of events means that I am not able to work as much, but I have been offering private chef lessons via zoom and helping out with menu writing and tutorials.
If you’re thinking of following a career in catering, then you must give it a go. You’ll learn skills that you will take with you around the world!
The training at College benefited me greatly as I was taught valuable skills that I have been able to pass them onto other students and chefs. The thing I most enjoyed about College was the fact that there was a real mix of students from different backgrounds and nationalities, which worked together with cooking because we could explore different food styles and menus.
If you are inspired by Isaac Mancini's story you can follow him on Instagram to learn more about the industry.