"You've got to be ultra dedicated. Progressing in a professional kitchen may mean travelling a lot & definitely working long hours. The job can take up most of your life."
Great British Menu (GBM) returned to our screens on 20th March 2019 for series 14. The BBC Two show puts the nation’s most talented chefs to the test. At Women in the Food Industry are interviewing the strong female line-up of chefs from across Britain competing to serve their dish at the final banquet. Their co-founder, Mecca Ibrahim, interviewed Samira Effa, originally from Huddersfield, who was working for Alimentum, Cambridge when she took part in the show.
Samira was asked how she started working in the hospitality world and where she trained. "I had two weeks work experience in a local restaurant in Huddersfield where I'm originally from, then I got a part time job there and took a BTEC in catering. I had my first experience in a Michelin starred restaurant when I moved to Edinburgh and worked for Paul Kitching's 21212."
The experience there gabe her a really good grounding for the chef I wanted to be when I got older. She said "Paul knew exactly what he wanted and had one of the biggest palates of any chef I know."
She explained how she got onto Great British Menu where she is competing with Tom Anglesey originally from Durham and Michael Carr of Harrogate's Restaurant 92: "Great British Menu approached me as they heard about my work at Alimentum. I had a number of telephone interviews and then they filmed me in the kitchen at Alimentum, to kind of see how I would be on TV. I then heard that I was through and set about preparing my dishes for the show. I sat down with my partner and we listed a number of British song titles from British artists that we thought would make good dishes."
When asked what advice she would give to budding chefs looking to be in her position she said "You've got to be ultra dedicated. Progressing in a professional kitchen means you often have to take great opportunities that come your way and that may mean travelling a lot and definitely working long hours, so you see much less of your friends and family than you may want to. The job can take up most of your life. So you either have to acknowledge that and go for it, or not!"
Samira will be appearing on Great British Menu from Wednesday 27th March representing the North East. You can read the full interview with Samira Effa on Women In the Food Industry.