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Weston College Alumni, Rich, Travels the World with Successful Chef Career!

My name is Richard Perks, and I am a professional chef living in Canada with my family! 

I started my career at Weston College, completing the NVQ1-2 Professional Catering course from 2001-2003, which helped me lay the foundation of cooking basics. I had an interest in catering from a young age as my father and grandmother are both very good cooks, and I enjoyed cooking with them as a child. I made the decision to study at Weston College as I wanted to develop this passion into a career, and I knew Weston would give me the best opportunity to turn my dream into a reality. Furthermore, I knew Weston would have the best catering department in the local area, including top-of-the-range facilities and incredible teachers. 

Through the course at Weston College, I was lucky enough to travel to Italy for work experience. My time in Italy went so well that I was asked to stay and continue the work I was doing for Massimo Spigaroli, who was known as the ‘Italian Salami King’. Through my work for Massimo, I attended an Italian university and studied traditional Italian cuisine. Just before graduating from this university, I was sent to a Michelin starred restaurant for work experience. After graduation I went on to work for Corrado Azensa (the pastry chef featured in season 4, episode 2 of ‘Chef’s Table Pastry’ on Netflix). 

After living in Sicily and working for Corrado for a year and a half, I moved to Hong Kong for 6 months to work at an Italian restaurant. I enjoyed Hong Kong; it was certainly different than living in Sicily. After a short stint in Hong Kong, I moved back to Italy for a few more years under Massimo in Parma. 

I then returned to the UK and lived and worked in London for a Michelin restaurant as well as working under Head Chef Malcolm Campbell for a short period. Malcolm Campbell is now a top chef in Canada and a good family friend of ours.  

I then moved to Australia, and I was Senior Sous Chef in one of a top 10 restaurant in Western Australia. I then met my wife and moved to Canada after 7 years in Perth. Since I've been in Canada, I have worked at Pinestone Golf Club as a job during the pandemic. From there I moved out to Nova Scotia to work at Cabot Links and Cabot Cliffs, which are both in the top 10 public golf courses in the whole of North America.  

From there, I have taken an Executive Chef role in a very good private school, just outside of Toronto. We serve a Marche-Style service to 1000 people a day. From homemade lasagne and pizza all the way to sushi bars. The change of pace is due to being a father to two very young children and looking for the right work-life balance. Since being at the school I have reached the Canadian Chefs Cup final two years running; I came 5th in my first year and last year I placed 3rd. I will be running again this year, hoping to place 1st. 

My favourite part of working as a chef is the opportunity it provides to travel the world and experience so many different cultures and foods. If I had decided to enter into a different industry, I would not have had the incredible experiences I’ve had! 

I have had so many highlights in my career and I could never pick just one, but a favourite from recent years has been competing in the Canada Chefs Cup. In my personal life though, raising my two children and being the best father I can be, is the most important part. 

My start at Weston College really set the precedent for the rest of my career; being able to travel abroad for work experience in my first two years of studying inspired me to continue travelling the world and resulted in my extremely successful career so far. I can’t wait to see where it takes me next! 

Find out about our Catering & Hospitality courses, here!

If you are passionate about education and are looking for an opportunity to join the staff team at a leading college, then look at the latest job vacancies available at Weston College here. You can find all the latest job opportunities that Weston College has to offer, with a commitment to providing quality education for learners and a focus on continuous professional development for staff, Weston College is an excellent place to work and grow in your career.

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