How I Got Here: Millie Simpson

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

chef interview with Millie Simpson of Sauce by The Langham cooking school
The Singapore-born chef will be kitchen manager at the Sauce by The Langham cooking school, which opens on 1 June.

Why restaurants?
I took quite a round-about way to finding restaurants and cookery schools but the love of food and service has always been there. I love sharing knowledge, solving problems, constantly learning and of course, eating!

Tell us something you wish you had been told at the start of your career?
That you can’t do everything by yourself, it just doesn’t work. Surround yourself with good people, trust them to help you and the whole experience will be much more rewarding and enjoyable.

What do you do in your spare time?
I love to dine out with friends & family when I can. And I also like to watch movies and play music, it’s nice to step away from the kitchen sometimes, I play the drums which is quite a good stress reliever!

What’s your favourite restaurant or group of restaurants (besides your current one)?
I have a few…Llewellyn’s in Herne Hill is very good and there’s also a fantastic restaurant in NYC called King.

What would you be doing if you weren’t in restaurants?
I think maybe working in music or some kind of craft like pottery.

What motivates you?
To be better! No matter what I’m doing, I try to always take on something new or change a previous perception. I like to grow and change.

Where was your last holiday?
It was in Monaco, it was my sister’s wedding so the whole family went over for a few days. It was beautiful but quite surreal. I definitely didn’t mind having coffee eclairs for breakfast in their beautiful patisseries.

Which colleague, mentor or employer has had the biggest influence on your approach to the restaurant business?
The two main teams I have worked with at Cactus Kitchens and The Langham London have been both extremely different and equally rewarding. The umbrella above all of that is the Roux family who I feel very privileged to work with. Their body of work is very inspiring and the training from them has led to a great deal of opportunity.

What keeps you up at night?
Mainly the lists I make in the day.

Worst business decision?
This is a hard one. I suppose I am yet to make it! Hopefully I won’t! There are always going to be challenges and difficult decisions. I think there’s always a solution though, or the possibility of a positive outcome.

Best business decision?
I would say just all the small decisions that have led me to where I am now. Nothing was especially planned out so I feel pretty lucky to have experienced the things I have and to keep moving forward.

What are you reading at the moment?
Even Cowgirls get the blues, by Tom Robbins. The movie is really good too. I am terrible at reading though and I dip in and out of books. I also love to read cookery books.

What piece of advice would you give to those looking to climb the rungs in the business?
I think just to really focus, and try to do better every day at what you do. Know that it will be hard work but you definitely get out what you put it. Small victories do play a huge part and its worth investing in good people.

If you could change one thing about the restaurant industry today, what would it be?
I think things are moving in the right direction as far as more balance and equality. Perhaps just some more levity overall. It’s a very competitive industry where people will strive to work the longest and hardest. I believe in classical training and professionalism but I’d like to see more chefs enjoying a balance of life. After all, food is meant to be fun!

CV

Born: Singapore, 1989

Education: Left school after high school to work in TV, went on to work in Food TV production and then in to restaurants and cookery schools.

2013 - 2017 Kitchen Manager, Michel Roux Jr Cookery School @ Cactus Kitchens

2018-2019 Kitchen Manager, Sauce by The Langham @ The Langham London

Related topics: People

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