Spotlight on Chef Alex Pritchard | International Women’s Day 2020
To celebrate International Women’s Day 2020 we’ve turned the spotlight on one of our valued part-time Chefs, Alex Pritchard. As well as adding some gender diversity in the kitchen she’s also had a fascinating journey before arriving with us.
Background & Studies – Scientist turned Chef
From school to uni I’d never considered a career outside of science and medicine. I had it all planned out from a very early age, I even ended up at the Nobel prizes for UK youth science in 2010 for SIYSS. I didn’t really have the option to study gastronomy, so after graduating as a Biomedical scientist my original plan was to go to post-grad medical school and specialise in nutritional research.
I held various positions in medical settings and for a dementia research charity but ended up spending all my spare time obsessing over food science and gastronomy. So much so that I couldn’t really imagine it not being a part of my future.
The Big Fig Catering project was my introduction into the industry and after a placement in France I was hooked – on return I decided to leave the lab behind. I then worked in various event-based catering & festivals before starting my Level 2 Catering & Hospitality course at Brighton MET who Isaac At works alongside to mentor and recruit from.
On project coordinating for BUCFP
I became a Project Coordinator for the Brighton Unemployed Centre Families Project (BUCFP) in 2017 and am now also in my final year at college studying Level 3 Advanced Professional Catering. Personally I’ve always been driven by fighting social, societal and environmental issues and I’m one of those people that always has to be busy so having two jobs and college suits me.
It’s hard to sum up my job at BUCFP, I basically coordinate projects, digital services and 70+ volunteers. As an organisation, we do so much to include and empower local families and individuals who are suffering exclusion, alienation or poor wellbeing as a direct result of poverty. A major part of this is fighting food waste and food poverty daily with our community cafe (the longest-running vegan kitchen in Brighton!), allotment and emergency food parcels. We work with other charities such as FareShare and the Food Waste Collective who intercept perfectly good food from across the city that would otherwise be heading for the landfill. Our creative cooks then work wonders to produce a tasty balanced meal, which for some of our centre users may be the only hot food they eat that day.
On working at Isaac At
Alongside my day job, I started at Isaac at in September 2019 initially as work experience and now working mostly on cold starters and a source of good vibes and scientific know-how – whilst restoring the gender balance in the kitchen. When it comes to food I’m super passionate about the scientific process, seasonality, sustainability and experimentation (so I love what Isaac at is about). I’ve already learnt so much about showcasing local ingredients and what can be achieved in such a small kitchen. Professional kitchens have a reputation of being male-dominated and difficult for women to fit it but this has never been an issue at Isaac at. They’ve always made me feel like a valued part of the family from day one, we’re all now genuinely good friends and I owe them big time for this opportunity.
Meet Alex and enjoy our Sussex tasting menus by booking your table today.