Succeeding in the food industry: Matt Wilkinson’s tips

***Rachel Khoo would like to thank all the inspiring people who helped make the Khoollect studio a hive of creativity. Although the Khoollect studio’s doors have now closed, you can keep up with Rachel’s newest adventures on and on Rachel’s Instagram and Facebook pages – and, continue to enjoy the Khoollect website’s stories and recipes, which will remain available.***

With five successful food businesses, a long-standing career in the fine-dining world and two cookbooks to his name, it’s safe to say Matt Wilkinson has some expertise in his industry. The entrepreneurial chef shares his honest career tips for those looking to succeed in the big, wide world of food:

Read, read, read

Inspiration comes from yourself, but it helps to set-off that inspiration with words from others. Great books and magazines are gems; and if you don’t have enough money, get yourself a library ticket and get to it. Libraries are an excellent resource for inspiration if you’re skint.

Show some respect

Be respectful to others. This will help you climb the ladder, and good people are respectful.

Work hard

If you think you’re working too hard, this is probably not the right industry for you. It gets a lot harder when you’re older, believe me, so do it when you’re younger.

Do it for the love of food

Money doesn’t grow on trees … Don’t work for peanuts, but if you chase the money at the start of your career, it’s the wrong career for you. Go back to school or university to learn and become something else.

Enjoy the ride

Smile, have fun. Long, pressure-filled hours are much better if you smile. Also, it’s just so much nicer being a happy person than a grump!

Be good to yourself

Try not to drink too much … you’ll end up with a beer potbelly like mine! And, on that note, don’t bloody smoke. I don’t care how cool you think Marco [Pierre White] looks in White Heat. It’s bad for you, believe me I know.

Know what you’re cooking

Learn its history, the geography of where your food comes from, and the process it has gone through to get into your hands. Why? Because learning keeps your mind active and full; a full brain gives you knowledge and heart; and a heart’s beat is your lifeline. Knowledge is a root system that can keep growing, meandering through the earth, creating a healthy tree. I like being a tree with roots. It brings joy to my life and, whether you believe it or not, it’s what true cooking is all about: knowledge and learning.

Do that with a smile and I can guarantee you will be fulfilled.

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Sonya Gellert

Sonya Gellert is a contributing writer and associate editor for Khoollect. She lives in Sydney....

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Read Matt’s conversation with Khoollect, and try his rose-geranium-stewed blueberries with creamed rice pudding recipe.