This year, our head of chef development Rik Razza celebrates his 25 year anniversary working at BaxterStorey. We caught up with Rik to talk about his career journey and what he loves most about his job:
What made you apply for your first job and do you remember your first day?
I first heard about BaxterStorey when I was approached by an agency about a head chef position at Oracle 510 whilst the company was Halliday Catering. I started as a head chef at Oracle 510 – it had just opened, and I remember walking in and thinking what an awesome job this looks like! It was so modern and offered so many opportunities for creative food offers. The first few months I remember saying to my sous chef “this job is too quiet, I think I’ve made a mistake” but how wrong was I! Literally the week after we went to full occupancy and my feet haven’t touched the ground since!
How has your job changed over the years?
As the other six buildings opened, I moved from head chef to group chef; we were such a dynamic team producing great food . We developed what became known as the ‘Oracle culture’. It created this hub of chefs that were focused on greatness and truly believed in BaxterStorey’s values. With Oracle’s successes we became a popular sales site, introducing me to the world of sales. This then took me on a new path, focused on building the food ethos for sales presentations, which I undertook as I stepped into my new role as executive chef. It was then that I began to realise I had a love and talent for training, which took me on a whole new route. I realised the impact I could have through people was huge. It was exciting and I felt it was my purpose in life; honestly, I haven’t looked back!
Tell us about your current role.
Today I’m head of chef development and feel very honoured and grateful to hold this position. With other like-minded people around me, we’ve created BaxterStorey’s Chef Academy that’s trained and developed over 1000 chefs. My involvement in the Academy has truly shaped who I am today. I’ve also found a love for coaching over the years and have specialised in wellbeing and purpose coaching; I believe it’s one of the most important tools in my kit bag. The impact it can have on individuals is just sensational and I’ve watched many of my team reach greatness for themselves through coaching.
What’s your favourite part of the job?
I’m often asked what’s the best thing about working for BaxterStorey. There are many things I love, but the one thing that stands out head and shoulders above the rest is the people. I’ve been blessed to work with so many great individuals that have shaped, helped, mentored, coached and developed me, been a shoulder to off loan on, to have fun with and best of all, they’ve been there throughout, creating some of the best memories in my life. Without people we don’t have a business, without people we don’t create the culture, without people there’s no variety, without people there’s no potential – people are our business.
What has been your biggest achievement/success?
I have so many career highlights, from cheffing at the first Oracle regatta in the pouring rain and being part of the team who won Barclays, to mixing 50kg of chicken mayonnaise on a 20-hour shift in a freezing kitchen! I was lucky enough to win the BaxterStorey Award at our annual awards ceremony; that was really special. However, the one that stands out for me is creating the Chef Academy. Having chef’s parents come up to me at the Chef Academy graduation to tell me that I’ve totally changed their child’s life is amazing. The surge of accomplishment that I get when I shake hands with the chefs on their graduation night is the reason why I do my job.
I’ve always said that you must have a passion for the trade you choose and a platform to operate from, and BaxterStorey have always given me that. What Alastair Storey has created is that brilliant platform – it offers so many things, but the biggest reward for me has been the opportunity for self-growth, development and potential.
It’s been an incredible 25 years and here’s to many more!