Graduating from Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand in 2015, Josh has achieved a lot within the last three years; now Head Chef at the Logan Brown-owned restaurant Bellamys, he tells us about his time at Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand, his experience at Logan Brown, and his future plans for the new restaurant.
Josh, tell me about your experience at Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand, and what is one key thing you took away from studying here?
“I was at Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand for two years studying the Professional Culinary Management programme which consisted of one year of the Diplôme de Cuisine programme (including all three Basic, Intermediate and Superior Cuisine certificates) and one year of business studies, which taught us the marketing, financing, and management-side of running a restaurant.
One thing I learned from studying at Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand is that it teaches you a great foundation of skills, particularly the more classic culinary skills. Although you may not use these every day in the kitchen after you graduate, it teaches you how to be precise, how to present, and how to manage your time efficiently."
What is one piece of advice would you give to students studying or looking to study at Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand?
"The advice I’d give to current and prospective students is to get yourself a part-time job within the industry whilst studying. Prior to studying at Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand, I called Logan Brown and asked if I could work there on a six-month unpaid internship – two months into this they offered me a job. I started from the bottom of the kitchen and began to work my way up. By the time I graduated from Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand, I was already working in the larder section of Logan Brown.
I found that working and studying at the same time complimented each other so well; I was able to pick things up a lot faster than anyone else in the classroom, and contrariwise, when it came to filleting my first fish at Logan Brown I’d already learned this technique from my studies at Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand. Working while studying also meant that as soon as I graduated, I had a full-time job lined up and did not have to start at the lowest level of a kitchen – something I think a few of the students struggle with once they have graduated - as it is easy to get a job, but very hard to get a higher position in a restaurant kitchen straight away if you have no experience."
What opportunities have been offered to you since you started working at Logan Brown?
A huge amount – I've had the chance to work in so many different positions and was sous-chef when I left to work at Bellamys. I have had the chance to work on a number of awesome functions, travel the country, and meet some truly amazing people. I also got to work on collaborations with places such as the Cartwheel Creamery where we got to create our own cheese.
Tell me about your current role as Head Chef here at Bellamys.
"I love the creativity aspect of my role; being able to design a whole menu, then changing it seasonally and getting to experiment with various ingredients every day is such an amazing part of the role. Another awesome part of my job is foraging for different ingredients. Every second morning we go out and collect ingredients such as sea succulents, celeries and wild porcini mushrooms from different spots all over Wellington. Sometimes MPs bring foreign delegates to Bellamys for lunch, so we try to incorporate a lot of native ingredients into our menu to showcase the top quality foods we have access to in New Zealand. Bellamys has just opened to the public which is very exciting, we have a great team behind us who share the same values we were taught at Logan Brown, like producing high-quality dishes, exceptional customer service, sustainability of produce and giving a really good overall experience to our customers."
Tell me about the day-to-day sustainable practices Bellamys tries to implement.
"Sustainability is a big part of Bellamys and the wider Logan Brown name. We use free-range pork, wild venison, and line-caught fish – we do not use trawled as it is not good for the fish quality, nor is it good for sustainability. It’s about being respectful of the environment in which these top ingredients are coming from, and if a certain fish is being over-fished that season, we do not use it in our dishes. You don’t want to be a restaurant contributing to a certain species going extinct. This is an important ideal that Bellamys tries to uphold."
Tell me about your future plans for yourself and the business.
"First and foremost would be establishing Bellamys; getting operations consistent and building up a well-known, reputable restaurant. In the far future, it would be great to go and work overseas. Working in some of the top fifty restaurants in the world is a big dream of mine."
To find out more about Bellamys by Logan Brown, click here to view their website or here to visit their Facebook page.