BigHospitality catches up with one of hospitality's top achievers for the lowdown on his career and thoughts about the industry
Steve Groves, 28, is senior sous chef at London restaurant Launceston Place. He made the headlines in October for winning the second series of the BBC TV show Masterchef: The Professionals.
My big achievement:
"Winning Masterchef: The Professionals was obviously one highlight of my career and getting two promotions in the space of a year at Launceston Place another (from chef de partie to sous chef and then to senior sous chef). The only thing that could top those would be the restaurant gaining a Michelin star in January.”
How I got to where I am:
“I trained at Colchester Institute then when I finished I went to America for six months and worked at a country house hotel. When I came back to the UK I went to Bournemouth where I worked in a few hotels and restaurants and hotels before I went to Branksome Beach in Poole, working my way up to head chef.
“After I’d be there a while I thought ‘I need to learn more and get better experience’ but I couldn’t go anywhere else in that role so I took a pay and position cut, moved to London and started at Launceston Place as chef de partie.”
“Having the chance to be a bit creative and express yourself through your food and also being part of a team. It’s a really creative kitchen at Launceston Place and Tristan (Welch) encourages everyone to be creative no matter what level you’re at. I like being part of the team. Because you spend so much time with the people you work with you get a real sense of camaraderie in the kitchen.”
Hospitality’s low points:
“The lack of a social life. There are a lot of sacrifices you have to make if you want to make it to the top level in the industry and your social life is one of them. The long hours can also play havoc with your health. I often have to survive on four hours sleep a night.”
“I let my career tail off a bit. I worked in some places that weren’t so great and felt like I’d wasted some time, so it was a real challenge getting myself back to where I wanted to be. I think I’m making steps in the right direction now, but I made it harder for myself by not being as determined earlier on.
“Being on Masterchef was a great experience but I think it’s going to be a bit difficult going into a new kitchen. People might think ‘he’s been on TV’ and there are always people looking to knock you down, but being on TV got me noticed and I’ve never worked in a Michelin starred kitchen so that was a massive step forward.
“I’ve still got a lot of learning to do and a lot of people to learn from. I’d love to open my own restaurant, but I’ve never worked in a Michelin-starred restaurant and that’s something I need to do before I go into my own place.
“When I open my own restaurant I want to be one of the best chefs in the country, so I can have the best restaurant possible and have lots of happy customers.”