Have you ever wondered what it would be like to work for Gordon Ramsay? TV and Twitter tell us it would probably be a nightmare: being berated for not breathing properly, having everything you make roasted (and not in a good way) and being called an idiot sandwich. No thank you.
Tash Pericic is one such person to do so, and has lived to tell the tale. Tash moved to London from New Zealand on a two-year visa in order to travel around Europe. That plan changed when she became assistant manager at Maze, an acclaimed Michelin-starred Gordon Ramsay restaurant in London.
She spent a year working shifts that went late into the night, managing explosive personalities on the kitchen staff and serving Ramsay’s celebrity pals in his home, leaving after a year to travel the world. She gives us some insight into what it’s like working for the notoriously demanding chef was like.
Tash originally applied to be a receptionist at Maze. She had years of experience in the restaurant business, including a stint as a general manager at just 22 years old, but she wanted to try something different.
In her interview, the general manager and the restaurant director were intrigued by her resumé and suggested she try one night as a receptionist and one night as a waitress, before then deciding which job she wanted. It wasn’t long until she took the waitressing job.
She was promoted just a few months later. In her role as assistant manager, she was the go-between from the floor to the kitchen. If issues came up with food service, she would speak to the head chef, a man with a heated enough personality to rival Ramsay himself.
“He was a very difficult chef,” Tash said. “He was like what you see on ‘Kitchen Nightmares.’ I saw him throwing pots and pans at staff, and he’d scream at me in the middle of service… There was a night where I had the chef literally standing right in my face, screaming at me, and I had to pretend like that was fine.”
She recalls her encounters with Ramsay himself actually being very pleasant. He visited the restaurant about every other week, and she met him several times. “He’d come in, say hi, come into the kitchen, check that everything’s okay,” she said. “It was fun, and quite entertaining.”
That isn’t to say Ramsay didn’t have his moments. When Tash oversaw a dinner one Christmas Eve, she walked in and found him swearing on the phone about the chairs his assistant had ordered. Ramsay was yelling: “What the f*** do you call these chairs!?” she said. “They’re so terrible I wouldn’t throw them on a f****** bonfire!” The chef then drove across London to pick up chairs from one of his restaurants to use instead.
Tash admits, “there is the Ramsay most people know,” she said. “But actually, he was great. He turned to us and said, ‘Relax, you aren’t at work, enjoy, have a glass of champagne,’ so we had a Christmas Eve toast with Gordon.”
The other members of staff were just as lovely too. Tash says, “every single person that works in a Michelin starred restaurant is a professional. It’s a really incredible environment to be a part of.”
Tash eventually left because she wanted to leave the intensity and spend more of her time travelling Europe. She had made a list of things she wanted to do, including sailing in Croatia and living in Italy which she eventually did. She says working at a Ramsay restaurant was a “lifestyle”, and that “the experience was unlike any other”.