Focus on - Clive Goudercourt Development Chef

Published : Sat 20th Oct Author : National Trust

I have worked at the trust for 6 years and been a chef for many years, the role of development chef, for me, is a new one, I have been in post for 6 months.

Before I joined the Trust I worked as a chef for Sheffield City Council.

I wanted to have a change from the job I was doing, partly because I was in a position where I couldn’t really progress anymore and partly because I had recently moved house and needed something nearer. National Trust appealed to me because it was what I did, I love cooking with the seasons, I love using produce which is grown locally and when I found the property I was at had a 4 ½ acre walled kitchen garden I knew I had found somewhere special to work.

The diversity of the places where we can work within the trust is astonishing. From stately houses to the peak district, beautiful coastlines and parklands to small properties which maybe do catering. I enjoy working for an organisation which believes in the principles of good food.

I have always loved food and everything to do with it. I have a huge passion around it. I spent a lot of time with my grandmother when I was younger and learnt about making bread and cakes, it was the 1970’s and a lot of food was still made at home.
I believe that everyone should have the ability to cook, for me it is a fundamental element of everyday life. Even the basics like soup should be a pleasure to make and a pleasure to eat. I remember a quote which always sticks with me when it comes to the basics like soup;
"Of all the items on the menu, soup is that which exacts the most delicate perfection and the strictest attention." Auguste Escoffier
I always knew I wanted to be a chef, from being very young. I left school and went to college to study catering where I achieved my city and guilds.

When I started working with the trust I had responsibility for a small kitchen team, as the business grew so did the staff base I was responsible for. I was offered training through our eLearning system, I was also funded to do my level three food hygiene and any training I felt I needed was made available to me. My current line manager is always pushing me to learn more and through self management I am now achieving far more than I ever thought I would.

In my current role as a Development Chef, I am developing recipe banks and working on menus with different properties as part of the catering strategy, I would love to see the work I have started continue when my secondment ends in March next year. I enjoy working with the different property teams helping them to realise their full potential and if I can help them by showing them different ways of working than they currently use then I will be more than happy when I return to my ‘day job’.

For someone wanting to join the Trust the hours can be quite long and the work is hard, some of our kitchens are in listed buildings making the working environment quite challenging at times, however, being able to be creative with recipes, using produce which is often grown at the property, the fantastic locations we work in and being part of one of the largest conservation charities in the UK is all part of what makes the job worthwhile. Also the hours, although sometimes long, fit in really well, I was so glad to get away from the split shift work of the hotel and restaurant business, I suppose the job will be what you make it, if you show true determination and put the graft in then the rewards can be excellent, the chances for career progression are really good and there are always different career paths within your chosen profession to explore.