If you found my site by accident then that’s ok but I really had planned to aim this website at family members who want to follow my progress as I spend some time in London working as a chef. My name is Ben Radley so when I found this domain name name I thought it would be absolutely perfect for documenting my travels so friends and family back home can follow me and see some of the amazing places I plan to visit and work in.
I grew up in Durban, South Africa and spent some time working as trainee chef in a variety of local restaurants and hotels so I believe I have enough experience to branch out into different parts of the world to enhance my cooking skills. I am going to being by spending some time in London – this makes a lot of sense for anyone planning to do some traveling as it is quite easy to find work in the city and you also get the opportunity to save up some pounds which work well all over the world! I am not sure where the next destination will be but I guess I would like to spend time in Europe or perhaps check out somewhere like Dubai. Essentially, I want to go where there is an abundance of expensive and quality eateries giving me a much bigger chance of staying employed. I have a British Passport which allows me to stay as long as I want in the UK or most of Europe. I have a sister in South London so I plan to stay there for the first little while giving me some breathing room to find a job making delicious goodies like this!!
I have a few hobbies, I enjoy a really high quality wine (when I can afford it) and I also love to play golf when I have the time. I might have to get some indoor golfing kit so I can get some swing practice to keep my swing in check! I have been lucky in SA that golf is accessible to most but I also understand that it is expensive in the UK and I may not be able to play quite as much as I normally manage. I guess it will depend on the job I am able to get and how much it will cost overall to live. I know London is an expensive city for rentals but living outside the city is a problem when you work late into the evening. As I am on my own I guess the best plan will be to engage in some kind of flat share with other people cutting down costs.
I plan to leave during the last week of November (I know, right in the middle of winter!) as I am told this is a great time as many restaurants are gearing up for the festive season so there should be plenty of opportunities to find work. Right now, I am just getting everything organized including warm clothing as I am sure that will be one of the most important things to consider! Going from an SA summer to a winter in London will be a bit of a shock to the system!
I will continue to update with pictures and posts of my adventures, please follow along!
I am guilty as I have not made the effort to add much content on to the blog. The last year has been a real whirlwind running from place to place, but, overall it has been much better than previous years. I have actually maintained a salary for the whole year – yes- you heard that right – even my parent are shocked.
Slowly, I am building a reputation up for my cookery skills which has made a big difference. I think when people have heard your name they are more receptive – how that affects the actual food nobody knows! London is a big city but the word about good food tends to travel. This really makes all the difference in my career as it ensures people want to taste my cuisine and therefore owners are interested in hiring me – slowly my rate gets to increase.
My advice to youngsters just getting started is to keep at it until you start to gain some traction. There will be times when you are tempted to just give everything up but it is important to keep at it. If you work at your skills and keep going success will find you!
In my personal life I still manage to find some time to get out on the golf course, weather permitting of course, but my game has suffered of late as I just cannot seem to put a good swing together. I always knew that golf was more about consistency and practice than anything else but it is quite depressing when you see your skill levels diminish to the point you don’t have the willpower to go and play much. Nowadays golf has become something that keeps me out of work and gets me socializing with friends.
I really hope to make some worthwhile resolutions in the coming year and ones that I can actually stick to. I want to get slightly fitter, working in a kitchen can do terrible things to your waistline and perhaps find a new hobby to keep my brain stimulated.
In my next post I will add some pictures of my workplace and some new recipes that I am playing around with.
Although it has only been a few days since my initial post and not a whole lot has happened I did have a bit of luck. I actually won a brand new desk for gaming in a competition and I was blown away as I have never really won anything before, especially in competitions. I went off to the shops last week in search of a new laptop to take with me to London so I can Skype back home and update the blog – I also need access to email and other internet services. I eventually decided upon a new Acer net-book/tablet (the screen detaches) making it small and light weight which is perfect for my trip. See the pic below to get an idea of how it works.
While I was in the shop I entered a competition (for those spending overt a certain amount) to win a brand new Soreno gaming desk. Imagine my surprise when they called me this morning to tell me I had won and get my details for delivery. Just a shame I won’t really get to enjoy it as I will be leaving soon – I guess my dad will appreciate it and make good use of it until I get back.
Other than that I have still been slowly getting myself organized for my trip – when you finally set a date you seem to notice that you are running out of time to get everything in place so I plan to sit in the morning and plan out a schedule so I can ensure that everything is done and I can go away without forgetting anything. It sounds simple but things like internet access to my bank account will be a problem from London as I will need to retain an SA number to receive codes (these are needed to make payments) so I need to visit the bank and see what options there are. This is a simple example but I have lots of things to take care of before I finally get out of here!
The good news is that I may have already found a job through a connection of my sister. It is a small and intimate place in London that are on the lookout for someone with my talents for 4 nights per week. Although I will provably need to work more this could be just the break I need when I arrive to get myself going. I have a Skype call setup with the owner for tomorrow afternoon so lets keep fingers firmly crossed!
I will update here soon and let you guys know how the call went.