A former Hospitality & Catering student shares her career journey with us.
From studying at MidKent College, via the kitchens of fine dining restaurants, to the editor of a food and drink magazine - Amanda Bootes has an exciting story to tell us about the career she loves!
What level course(s) did you study at the College?
Hospitality and Catering Level 1, 2 & 3
HND in Hospitality and Event Management
Can you share more about your career journey?
Food has been all I’ve ever known and loved, so I started my career from a young age; working in kitchens from 14 and working my way up through the chain. Like many others in the hospitality industry my path followed the expected journey. While studying I was able to work part time around my college hours to gain more insight into the industry – the two combined allowed me to gain both the experience and the education needed to continue my career. After leaving education I worked in multiple establishments including a fine dining AA Rosette Restaurant as a Head Pastry Chef as well as a season in the South of France – what better place to learn the art of food than the capital itself!
I continued my journey in the catering sector absorbing as much knowledge and skills as I could from both the front of house and kitchen side of the industry. My appetite for perfectionism and curiosity extended outside of the traditional and led me to the creative aspect of the sector, something that had always piqued my interest and served me well in and out of the kitchen. I never expected my career to pivot quite like it has – but I wouldn’t change a second of it. While working as a Head Pastry Chef I was working over-time, creating, photographing and showcasing my creations on a food blog – this was back before they were even a thing. I probably averaged around 50 readers a month – but one of those readers was a commissioning editor for the lifestyle sector at Metro Newspaper who offered me the opportunity to join their team. After working in the lifestyle and food journalistic sector for a few years, with commissions from HuffPost, The Guardian and Women’s Health, amongst others, under my belt, as well as recipe development and food photography for national newspapers and food magazines and brands, I landed a job in the world of Public Relations and Consultation for a luxury firm specialising in artisan and award-winning food and drink companies. Utilising my expertise and experience I was able to fully immerse myself into their campaigns and deliver unique projects that best showcased the brand - be that organising an event for a Michelin Starred Restaurant, or educating the public on the proper etiquette of smoked salmon. Fast forward a few years later, and I’ve left the agency to help build a new digital PR company from scratch, for a millennial nomad recognised by Amex as a ‘One-to-Watch’ taking them from 1 client to over 25 and launching in the US in just under a year.
From there I realised it was time to do my own thing. Combining all of the technical skills I had gathered from across my career to create a new job role - one that didn’t even exist but only doing the bits I loved best. I now own my own food and drink magazine which has far exceeded all expectations in its first year. I look after creative control and ghost-write for well-known chefs and cookbook authors and continue to develop recipes and food photography on the side.
What is your current role(s)? And what does it involve?
I’m the Editor of Consommé Magazine. After years in the industry I knew there was something missing. So, I wanted to create something that filled in the gap. Consommé provides a clear and transparent look into the food world, without losing any of its flavour. Like its namesake, the magazine delivers on satisfying your palate by providing and giving a a voice to the ones that need it the most.
My job consists of staying on top and ahead of food and drink trends. Collating relevant content for our audience. Editing articles from our talented team of writers and chefs, interviewing key members of the sector and crafting articles that educate, inspire and inform, as well as building a community brought together over their love of good food.
How did the skills you learnt at College prepare you for your career?
The ability to adapt, be flexible and to understand the importance of nailing the basics before jumping in – you wouldn’t make a souffle if you couldn’t boil an egg. I also developed the skills needed to understand fundamental global principles relating to multiple cuisines, cultures and dietary lifestyles which allows you to stay current and accessible for all. And the immeasurable value in delegating and working as a team. Too many chefs may spoil the soup but spreading yourself too thin is just as dangerous, if not more.
What would you say to others thinking of entering the hospitality & catering industry?
Regardless of your job title, working in this sector is more than just a job – it’s a career. You have to be accepting to fully immerse yourself into it. Stay on top of the trends, listen to the voices and stories of the generations before you, read up on cuisines and dishes that excite you - and the ones that don’t. Always stay humble and trust yourself and your abilities. No-one is a bad chef – they just haven’t practiced enough to learn how to cook properly. Failure is a pinnacle point of growing and will only make you a better chef because of it.
Do you have your sights set on a career in the food, catering or hospitality industry? Find out more about our study prorammes and apply onine here