Name: Andrew Wilson
Job Title: Executive Head Chef at Ashdown Park Hotel & Country Club
Andrew Wilson (or “Chef” as he is known to most of the team at Ashdown Park,) has been with Elite for a number of years on and off and is currently the Executive Head Chef at Ashdown Park Hotel & Country Club.
Having worked in hotel kitchens for most of his career, Andrew wanted to develop his fine dining skills and spent time working in Michelin star and Rosette restaurants across the South East to grow his skills in this area. Having previously worked at Selsdon Park, Andrew originally joined the Ashdown Park team as a Chef de Partie, where he fell in love with the beautiful property and the ethos of the company. It was the perfect fit and he quickly developed into a Sous Chef and then progressed into becoming the Senior Sous Chef at Ashdown Park.
Overall, Andrew has spent 6 years (and counting) at Ashdown Park and still thoroughly enjoys his role. He has a reputation and passion for learning and development by growing his team members, with many examples of current kitchen staff having started as apprentices and grown into supervisory roles. Andrew believes that his passion for developing and nurturing talent is an ethos that is strongly echoed by Elite: “As a company, they encourage and try to develop your skills” evidenced by his own career development within Elite.
Hospitality offers many different opportunities with the knowledge that no two days are ever going to be the same – which is part of the appeal for this Executive Head Chef. Alongside a great team, Andrew relishes the freedom he has to manage his team and menus and knows that he has found a great home at Ashdown Park.
For those looking to develop a career in hospitality and the kitchen in particular, Andrew has some sound advice. Work in different settings, use work experience as an opportunity to try and gain an understanding of different settings and establishments. “Throughout the early part of my career, I was continually gaining work experience. Actually working in the kitchen is invaluable and for me personally, getting the opportunity to spend time in kitchens at places like The Mandarin and Gavroche really helped develop my skills as a chef.”
Echoing the sentiments of many staff, Andrew believes that any budding chef needs to be prepared to work hard and understand what you are getting in to “Working in the kitchen is fun, enjoyable and rewarding, but not always easy – you will need drive and passion to succeed.”
The highlight of Andrew’s journey so far has been his promotion to Executive Head Chef – which was always his main career ambition. Aware that he would not have achieved this goal without the support of the company, Andrew is determined to “return the favour” to future up and coming chefs. He takes part in Springboard’s Future Chef Programme and acts as an ambassador for the charity, which promotes hospitality careers to young people and those returning to the workforce.
Finally, what three words would Chef use to describe working for Elite hotels?
After much consideration: “Appreciated, Valued and Proud”.