I have been a chef for 13 years and joined CJUK in 2014 after the passing of my father. I decided to take a good look at my life and make changes. I had previously worked with a CJUK employee and after hearing she had joined the team, I gave her a call to ask if I could join the brigade.
The thing I like the most about working with CJUK is being paid for all the hours I work and getting to request my own holidays. A lot of chef jobs promise that you will only work 40 hours a week, when in reality you work nearer to 60 and only get paid for 40.
The work that CJUK provide is varied and it keeps me employed all year round. Another thing I really enjoy about being a part of the brigade are the social events and conferences.
Before starting my catering career at the age of 17, my dream job was to be a veterinarian. After struggling to keep up with the studies and a stint in a vets on a work experience, I decided to look at other options and chose catering.
I can’t put into words how much the team helped me after my crash, they rang me on numerous occasions to check I was recovering well and getting ready to come back to work.
Being a relief chef with no transport is a less than ideal situation and this was a major concern of mine coming back after the crash. However, CJUK were quick to put my concerns to rest with suggestions such as doing my DBS check through Personnel Checks, which opened me up to a side of catering I probably would have never experienced had I not had the crash.
The DBS allowed me to work in schools, nurseries and nursing homes which made it easier for me to commute via public transport as opposed to a hotel or Gastro pub, which I was more used to doing.
Working for CJUK has changed my life. I often think if I had not joined when I did, I wouldn’t be in the catering industry today. The experience and confidence I have gained from my time as a relief chef is fantastic. Every day is different, I have travelled all over, seeing many new places and making new friends.
The work-life balance I have since joining the team has allowed me to pursue another one of my passions – martial arts! Never before, during my time in the industry, have I been able to have a hobby.
My advice to anyone wanting to try relief work is to give it a go. Push yourself out of your comfort zone. I had many doubts and preconceptions about doing relief work but not all are true.
CJUK can keep you busy throughout the year on a wage better than a salaried job with all the usual benefits of holiday pay and a pension scheme. I think I started doing relief work in order to help me get a new job. Now, this is my job!”
A few words from the team:
“Christian has always been a pleasure to work with, receiving great feedback from jobs and helping us out by picking up extra shifts if needed. We were genuinely worried after his accident, our brigade aren’t just ‘workers’ for us, we’re a team and we were so pleased when Christian recovered and headed back into the kitchen to continue doing what he loves!”
If you would like to find out more about joining the CJUK Brigade, please call us on 01254 355666 or send us your details below and we’ll be in touch!