Gareth Mullins, Senior Sous Chef, The Merrion Hotel Dublin

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Degree subject NTCB 1 and 2
Job title Senior Sous Chef
Employer The Merrion Hotel

I was first introduced to the professional kitchen as a kitchen hand when I was fourteen and knew that this was the career for me. I started at my current employer as a commis chef (essentially an apprentice) and began working my way up the structured kitchen hierarchy.

After two years, I decided to try working abroad to broaden my experiences and see the world so continued to progress my career in other five-star hotels in Australia and Asia.

Returning to Dublin, I rejoined The Merrion Hotel as a senior sous chef, responsible for the smooth running of the kitchen. This covers everything from team management and the rotas to food costs and health and hygiene.

A large part of my job is employee training. I'll ensure my team are given structured training to make everything from a club sandwich to a Hollandaise sauce while maintaining a consistent high standard.

The best thing about my job is the opportunity to be creative – you have input into menus, keep ahead of food fashions and trends, and source the best produce. You need a real passion for food and the drive to achieve perfection.

Advice for graduates

When starting out you'll have many opportunities to move around, gaining different experiences, but always work in the best establishments because you'll learn from professionals at the top of their game and work with the best produce. I get a real sense of achievement when I see how far I have already progressed and can see my future career ahead of me.

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