A year with Gordon Ramsay

KINGSCLIFF TAFE-trained chef Zoe Palmer has returned home after spending a year working at Gordon Ramsay's restaurant, Maze, in London.

After being brought up surrounded by her grandfather's Greek background of loving food, it only took Miss Palmer a pre-apprenticeship course at TAFE, to realise that cooking was where her heart lay.

She completed her apprenticeship under Oskars at Burleigh head chef Marty Kollrep, who pushed her to follow her dream of working with Gordon Ramsay.

After sending off a resume, completing an interview and a trial, Miss Palmer was offered a job as chef de partie, responsible for the pastry section in Ramsay's prestigious London restaurant. 

“I feel so lucky to have had such a life-changing experience, something that most people dream about. I still can't believe it happened to me,” Miss Palmer said.

“It was long hours, and hard work, but I learnt so much.”

Although she worked alongside executive chef Jason Atherton rather than Gordon Ramsay himself, Miss Palmer did touch base with him once or twice a week.

“He's a really nice man,” she said. “Nothing like he is on TV. He was always very kind, welcoming and supportive of the learning experience.”

But cooking isn't all Gordon Ramsay shares with his staff, who have also picked up his foul language, according to Miss Palmer.

“They all swear and are arrogant-speaking because they think they can get away with it,” Miss Palmer said. “Some days I would walk out of the kitchen crying.

“They treated me like I was still an apprentice.”

Despite this, the overall experience is one she will never forget.

“Working in Gordon Ramsay's restaurant helped me to broaden my culinary horizons and build on the knowledge and passion that was instilled in me by my mentor Marty,” Miss Palmer said.

Miss Palmer next has her sights set on working in Jamie Oliver's Melbourne restaurant.

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