I attended a Kickstart Careers event at the Arsenal Emirates Stadium at the beginning of September 2021, where I attended an interview for another organisation. Upon leaving the venue, I spotted the Côte banner with a Chef on the front, so I thought, “let me try my luck,” and went over to discuss positions within the company. I met Ivan and Florenzo, who discussed the Kickstart programme and Back of House position, and we went from there.

While on the Kickstart programme, I have learnt so many new things. For example, I always thought that I was a great cook; I have now realised that your home kitchen is totally different compared to a restaurant kitchen. I had to learn everything from scratch as I did not even know how to hold a knife correctly. The new skills I have been taught over the past six months have been excellent, such as knife skills and temperature checks, which I haven’t previously thought I would need. My favourite dish to cook at home is a roast dinner with all the trimmings, but within Côte, I am currently working on starters and desserts and soon to be more.

Sezen Aksu- Level 2 Chef Apprenticeship 

The Kickstart programme has 100% given me the career opportunity that I was looking for, Côte and luck was on my side the day I attended the careers event and met the guys from Côte.

I am now enrolled in the new Côte Chef Academy and will be carrying out a Level 2 Chef apprenticeship within the company this year. This will support me in achieving my dream job and career goals. I am a very hands-on person, and the kitchen is the place I feel most comfortable, so creating my own dishes from scratch will be amazing.

The apprenticeship programme will give me the knowledge and understanding of the kitchen and support my career development to become perhaps the next Côte Executive Chef (Watch out, Steven Allen!). I feel so supported by Côte and knowing that I have this opportunity to change my life is massive. Everyone in St Christopher’s Place is behind me to succeed, even down to the KP’s; they are kind, helping, and caring. I know that this support and guidance will carry me through the qualification. Right now, I’m nervous and excited about starting a new apprenticeship journey, but I know once I get started, there will be no stopping me.

If I can sum up in one word what the apprenticeships have meant to me, I would say GOALS!