Hi, I’m Andy I’m 23 years old, from Southampton, love cooking, and am the Head Chef at Mettricks.
I first came to Mettricks to meet my friend James. I ended up coming a lot and got to know Spencer (the boss) quite well. At the time I wasn’t working as a chef because I had decided that the culture in most restaurant kitchens was deeply wrong and the industry was full of problems. However I still had a burning desire to cook real food for people.
At the time the food here at Mettricks was only just beginning, we were making take away sandwiches and soups every morning and selling lots of bacon sarnies. The menu was fairly repetitive and the kitchen small and a bit confused. I wanted to get back cooking again so I met up with Spencer.
He told me he wanted a food menu that was rooted in our Fresh, Tasty, and Local motto. I told him I want to cook locally sourced real food that wasn’t in a horrible environment. So I started straight away. Not long after I was put in charge of the ‘Development’ in my head this menu writing cooler menus improving the standards etc. However it was a roller coaster of new sites new experiences and more new sites!
I have been asked to write about my daily routine, an impossible task I believe. I can normally be found either behind the grill in Old Town or Bargate, or in meetings between all the sites and if I’m lucky at the pub! One of my favourite jobs, after a record braking breakfast shift in Old Town, is helping the team improve their skills and standards. I get to coordinate meetings and run training sessions, I have found this great fun and rewarding when you see the improvements.
I love working at Mettricks, as we really are a family business. Not only in the business sense, but also how it runs through the team. Every site is like its own family, some people are the Mums and Dads, some are the annoying brothers… etc. But we really do pull together, the best days to work are when we are so busy we shouldn’t be able to survive, but somehow it all comes together and everyone steps up a notch or more and you suddenly have pulled off a seemingly impossible shift and the feeling is great and we all celebrate together! One of the craziest weeks was when we opened the Bargate site. We got the keys and 8 days later we were open for business. Over 1 and half years later we are still working on having it ready, but that week was non stop and everyone got involved it was crazy but the feeling was awesome once we opened. No where else could I be the head chef writing menus, cooking food, and then painting a wall and moving sofas at 1am in the morning!
So whats my favourite part?
Being a chef, you need to find a love for more than just food. For some its pastry, some molecular gastronomy, for me its books! I have too many and not enough at the same time! I love to be inspired by them! But it’s also what I call real food. People need to eat everyday, it’s from this necessity that many people not just me have began a love for food. It is why there are so many restaurants and tv shows etc. I love the idea that simple ‘real’ food is the best way to enjoy a meal. For thousands of years before the tv shows telling you what is good to eat, people would have cooked what they had available. And I believe some of the best plates of food in the world still work to that same principle, food that grows together goes together.
People that know me hear me say that a lot! It’s the reason I want Mettricks to show off the food that Hampshire has on its doorstep, the Isle of Wight has some of the best tomatoes and the best garlic in the world, the Hampshire hog, we are renowned for out pork, the New Forest is full of wild mushrooms and at the moment wild garlic is springing up all over the place! Being a chef is no fun at all unless you have a passion for what you are doing, you have to love the ingredients, love the challenge and for me most of all love cooking. I love hospitality, the feeling of taking some awesome ingredients, cooking them and turning them into some great food, and then delivering them to someone to enjoy! There is a great feeling when you see the look on their face as they tuck in! That is why I’m a chef at Mettricks.