As part of a new career spotlight series we’re interviewing chefs from across the UK. Our second interview is with Leanne Turk – Lead Development Chef, Central Functions at Compass Group UK & Ireland – the UK’s leading food and support services provider.
Tell us about your current job role and responsibilities
Leading a team of two other development chefs creating recipes and concepts across our various sectors. I work in all areas of recipe creation, innovation and insight, nutrition, ingredient optimisation, implementation and delivery.
…and a little about your culinary career journey.
I found my passion for cooking when working in my parent’s pub. Between the ages of 16-19, I attended Westminster Kingsway College and did a three year professional chefs diploma training in professional cookery, front of house and kitchen management.
During this time, I partook in work experiences at Le Gavroche, Locanda Locatelli and a restaurant in Gailllac in the south of France. After college, I initially worked at the three-rosette Boxwood Café for Gordon Ramsay Holdings, but moved to fine dining at Goldman Sachs International and later, fine dining within Compass Group UK & Ireland.
I progressed to Food Development Chef for Chartwells (Primaries, Secondaries and Academies). My role as a Development Chef within Chartwells included recipe development and creation, delivering innovation and being compliant to the School Food Standards. My development covered sugar reduction in desserts for menus for the Compass Group 2020 Health & Wellbeing Strategy and more recently completely allergen free dishes on central menu to support pupils with allergens and intolerances.
After three years, I progressed into becoming the Lead Development Chef for Compass Group. I lead on the food and concept development that the team delivers into the business.
Leanne and Women in Food:
Women in Food is a fantastic platform to showcase the talented women in Compass Group who approach every day of work with passion, commitment and a hands-on approach to working with food.
What do you get up to outside of work?
Walking and hiking, travelling for new food and culture experiences and eating out at good restaurants!
What are your personal objectives for this programme?To learn more skills in business finance and project management, build stronger key relationships with business stakeholders and lead my team to deliver excellence in all we do. Academically I will be proud to hold a Level 5 qualification.
What impact do you hope the Apprenticeship aspect of the programme will have on your career?
I hope this apprenticeship will provide me with new skills and knowledge to further progress my career within our business. I feel gaining more skills in the business operation side of things will give me more opportunities to progress into a senior leadership position and I’m excited to have a mentor within Culinary as I feel it will support in key areas of my role.
What are your long-term career ambitions?
To sit within Senior Culinary Leadership or Head of Department for Food Development, and finally become a Lecturer in Professional Cookery.
What advice would you give to anybody thinking about starting a culinary career with Compass Group?
I would encourage anyone to join the apprenticeship programme at Compass Group. We have an amazing pipeline of talented chef’s that are already becoming experts in their fields and have gained great skills and learning whilst being in a real kitchen environment. The opportunities available to our apprentices are not your average experiences and I have seen how rewarding this is for them and excited to experience them myself.
Exceptional food by exceptional people
Every day, Compass Group UK & Ireland (UK&I) connect their clients and customers to truly exceptional food. Their culinary professionals go beyond the plate to bring tasty menus to life with impeccable flavour combinations and sustainable ingredients.
As an outstanding employer Compass Group (UK&I) pride themselves on matching talented culinary professionals to chef jobs with extra flavour. If you are interested in finding out more, click here.