18 Jan 2019
Icon - Industry Insight

Andy’s hoping to savour a sweet performance at Chef of the Year

Independents by Sodexo senior sous chef Andy Voice is an experienced competition entrant looking to seize the opportunity to show people his wider chef skills repertoire.

Andy’s past successes have generally been as a pastry chef but, as a finalist in 2019’s Sodexo Chef of the Year competition, he said: “This is my chance to prove I’m not just a pastry chef. I want people to see I can cook savoury too.”

Andy is taking on the challenge well prepared. After a day in the kitchen at work, he likes nothing more than winding down with a bit more cooking at home.

It’s not just a job to me, it’s a passion,” he said. “I love to explore new tech for the kitchen and scour all the latest cook books. I go home and cook because I find it therapeutic. It consumes me.”

It’s now coming up to two years since Andy switched from Reed’s School at Cobham to Dorney Lake, the unique sports and events venue near Windsor, which famously hosted the London 2012 Olympic Games rowing events.

Eton College-owned Dorney Lake remains a venue for regattas and triathlons within its 400 acres of parkland, but the boathouse where Andy works offers a range of meeting and event spaces, and provides catering for a wide range of activities, from team building exercises to conferences, product launches and parties.

“It has become quite a hub for Sodexo,” Andy explained. “We do various Food Platform days with suppliers, the culinary team do trials and preparation here, and a number of tenders for new business take place as well.”

Andy, 32, is also a member of the Sodexo culinary team and has twice been part of victorious teams at the annual Sodexo culinary team challenge, and winning teams at Hotelympia.

“I’ve got a lot of competition experience and a track record I’m trying to uphold,” he said. “This time I’m not just focusing on pastry; I’ve now got to do all three courses.”

Personal development has been a strong suit for Andy throughout his culinary career, which began aged 16 at Brooklands College, Weybridge.

“I studied everything I possibly could,” he said. “Bakery, cake making, cake decorating – I gained as much knowledge as I could rather than choosing one specific discipline.”

From college, he went to work in a variety of hotels around Surrey, as a commis chef and chef de partie, also helping out front of house as a waiter. When he was 22, he joined the Sodexo team at Reed’s School and he progressed from demi chef de partie to pastry chef during his seven years at the Surrey independent school.

“Initially nobody was taking responsibility for pastry so I took it on and became the pastry chef, developing it to the extent that we eventually made all our bread, biscuits, cakes and desserts in-house.”

During his time at the school, he also had the opportunity to study at the prestigious École Lenôtre academy in Paris, receiving coaching and gaining fresh inspiration from world-renowned experts.

Andy is pictured competing in the Sodexo Culinary Team Challenge in September 2018.

The Sodexo Chef of the Year 2019 final takes place at 12:20pm on Tuesday 22 January. Join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #SodexoChef19

Search our latest Chef vacancies here and be the next Sodexo Chef of the Year

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