The Head Chefs behind our Apprenticeship Programme – Jamie’s Story

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The Fuller’s Chefs’ Guild Apprenticeship Programme is recognised as one of the best in the industry. It provides budding chefs the opportunity to earn while they learn from talented lecturers and head chefs, resulting in internationally recognised qualifications.

The success of the programme is largely attributed to the great chefs and teachers behind it.

Jamie Stone, Head Chef at The Holly Bush in Hampstead, is currently mentoring four chef apprentices in his kitchen as part of the programme. His apprentices spend four days working in his kitchen, and one day per week studying at one of our partner colleges or universities.

We asked Jamie [pictured below, far left] about his journey to becoming a head chef, including being a former chef apprentice himself, and what it’s like to teach the chefs of the future while operating a busy kitchen.

Adam Sykes

Introducing Jamie Stone, Head Chef at The Holly Bush

Jamie has been the head chef at The Holly Bush since July 2017 – a busy pub and restaurant within a stunning Grade II listed building in Hampstead, North West London, with a great reputation for food.

He spent more than 12 years working in premium pubs and restaurants across England before taking the reins at the pub, where he is now mentoring Fuller’s chefs of the future.

Fuller's Chef Apprenticeship Programme - Jamie Stone, Head Chef at The Holly Bush, Hampstead.

Jamie's chef apprenticeship

With publicans for parents, Jamie was naturally exposed to the hospitality industry from a young age, and, by the time he turned 13, he was already helping in the kitchen whenever he could. By 16 he’d started a chef apprenticeship in West Sussex, first working for his parents before finishing his apprenticeship at The Spread Eagle in Midhurst.  

Commenting on The Spread Eagle, he said: “The standard of the company was exceptionally high – one of the three sites had a Michelin Star, the other two had Rosettes, and that’s where I really learnt to cook. I went from pubs to the fine dining scene and it shaped my career and passion for cooking.”

Jamie’s career flourished in the years that followed. From working at the oldest hotel in Brighton where he and his team served 400 people for breakfast and lunch every day, to moving to London to take on his first head chef position at a restaurant with celebrity regulars. Now, he’s passing on his wealth of knowledge to his apprentices.

Fuller's Chef Apprenticeship Programme - Jamie Stone, Head Chef at The Holly Bush, Hampstead.
Fuller's Chef Apprenticeship Programme - Jamie Stone, Head Chef at The Holly Bush, Hampstead.

Knowledge shared

Having shaped his own successful chef career by learning from great chefs himself, Jamie saw value in taking on apprentices and developing his team. In fact, one third of his team are apprentices.

“I like seeing people develop and I receive support with training them. Getting formal training which will better yourself and your career is so vital, and everything they learn through the apprenticeship programme they put into practice in the kitchen. It’s a really strong programme that covers everything, from food hygiene and cleanliness to cooking techniques.”

When asked how he manages four apprentices in a busy kitchen, Jamie said his whole team contributes.

“Getting chefs together at a younger age and allowing them to develop with other chefs is so important because you gain more experience and ability. Their skill level is always improving and they’re all passing on tips and motivating each other in the kitchen.

“The partner colleges and universities are also excellent. The quality of chefs teaching the programme are a cut above, so they’re learning from people with real experience and it makes a huge difference.”

Fuller's Chef Apprenticeship Programme - Jamie Stone, Head Chef at The Holly Bush, Hampstead.

Overcoming challenges

Jamie said the benefits of taking on apprentices far outweigh any challenges and encourages more head chefs to follow suit.

“Some chefs may think that taking on more than one apprentice is difficult, but there are so many benefits. They help in the kitchen, share their learnings with the team, and help to motivate the other chefs. Peak times, like Christmas and summer, aren’t an issue because they don’t have study days, and additional costs are minimal.”

Commenting on how he keeps his apprentices motivated and learning, Jamie said he holds monthly cook-offs.

“I pair up my chefs and they work together to come up with a dish, including the reasoning behind it, and we have an afternoon where they cook it and present it together. The winning team gets a small prize, and they all learn something and change themselves in the process.

“The rest of the motivation is providing them the right environment to work, learn and thrive in. They are learning in a restaurant of high standard, they’re being paid while they study, and they earn great tips. Their transport is paid for when they attend their study day, so there are a lot of benefits to doing an apprenticeship with Fuller’s.”

Fuller's Chef Apprenticeship Programme - Jamie Stone, Head Chef at The Holly Bush, Hampstead.

Become a qualified Chef with Fuller’s

The Fuller’s Level 2 Commis Chef Apprenticeship Programme is designed for anyone looking to have the best start to a chef career, by providing all the skills and knowledge required to become a qualified chef.

Fuller's Level 3 Chef de Partie Apprenticeship Programme is for those already at Commis Chef level who want to progress to the next level in their chef career.

How does the apprenticeship work?

Apprentices study one day per week at one of Fuller’s partner colleges or universities, and work for four days per week at one of our selected managed pubs, where they are mentored by one of our head chefs.

We have two intakes for apprenticeships each year – in March and September – but we recruit all year round in our pubs, so you can join us at any time and go onto the next available programme.

Find out more about Fuller’s Chef Apprenticeship Programmes: Chef Apprenticeships.

Browse Fuller’s jobs

Do you want an exciting career in hospitality? Browse available jobs in Fuller’s pubs – from kitchen porter and chef roles to front of house positions.

Browse Pub & Hotel Jobs.

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