Craig Smith - Development Chef
What is your name?
What company do you currently work for?
Baxters Food Group
What is your job title?
Provide a brief description of your business
Baxters is a food manufacturer, with over 150 different products ranging from soups, beetroot, chutneys, condiments, relishes, preserves, and deli toppers.
Describe your career pathway after leaving school
I did three years at a cookery college in Coventry (where I'm originally from) and worked mainly in fine dining throughout my career. I moved to St Andrews and worked there and then moved down to Edinburgh where I worked as a Sous Chef at the Scottish Parliament and then got my first Head Chef role at a new restaurant in Stockbridge. Then, an old Sous Chef from St Andrews was Head Development Chef at Baxters Food Group and asked if I wanted to join him.
What school subjects would be helpful for your job role?
- Home Economics
What is your favourite thing about the work that you do?
Every day is different. We could be making up soups, to jams, to chutneys. Everyday is a school day. Learning about the other side of catering with different processes to make sure product is: a) good, and b) safe for people to buy from supermarkets and eat.
Why did you want to work in this industry?
I knew that I wanted to be a Chef from an early age. Even with all the horror stories about low pay and long hours. However, if you are dedicated, the rewards are there.
What does a typical day in your role involve?
Making sure recipes have all the right information on for the Kitchen Team before anything gets made that day. We have a daily tasting at 9am with the product that was made the day before in the Development Kitchen and we taste and discuss any changes that need to be made. Sometimes a new sample of an ingredient has come in and we check these over first before committing to a recipe. It varies every day!
What skills are required to do your job?
- People management. Whether it's the team of four in the Kitchen who I look after, or the Technologists who require certain things, or the Lab team in case we need their skills for certain recipes.
- Time management. Making sure recipes are done and dusted within the allotted drop date.
- Ability to adapt if a project suddenly takes priority at the drop of a hat
- Taste and flavour. You have to taste sometimes quite a bit of stuff.
What is your advice to young people who are considering working in this sector?
To me, being a Chef is the best job in the world! It can take you anywhere in the world but you have to be committed to it. If you 'half bake' it, you will get found out very quickly. I never saw myself doing the Development side but you just never know where your path will take you.
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Here at DYW Moray, we'd like to encourage those of you who are employed in Moray to share your career story with us so that we can promote these to Moray's young people. Go on, share your career story now!