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Andrew Heffernan

Andrew Heffernan

London, England

"You can learn the theory, but you have to be able to put it into practice."

Career Roadmap

Andrew's work combines: Food, Entrepreneurship, and Working Independently

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Day In The Life

Private Chef

As a private chef, I handle all things that deal with food for a particular client.

Life & Career Milestones

I've taken a lot of twists and turns

  • 1.

    Since the age of 3, I was a very tactile person and loved getting my hands on food. The best Christmas present I ever received was a nonstick frying pan when I was 8.

  • 2.

    At 17 years old, I worked at a bistro. I had this outlook that [working in a kitchen] was cool and trendy. I lasted nine months and didn’t enter another kitchen for 2 years.

  • 3.

    I was in college to study business, dropped out, and then dropped out of culinary school with 6 and a half months left to finish.

  • 4.

    To be 20 years old, unemployed, and low on cash was horrendous. Two weeks later, I got a job as a commis chef, doing everything from cutting wood to washing pots.

  • 5.

    I knew nothing about food but was able to tell cooks how to cut meat. Cutting meat in our trade is something you build up to. It was sink or swim and I sank more than a swam for quite a long time.

  • 6.

    After eight years of being in the kitchen, I wanted a change.

  • 7.

    March 31, 2019 was my last day in a professional kitchen. I was trying to decide what I wanted to do but the opportunity was put right in front of me. Now, I am a full-time private chef.

Defining Moments

How I responded to discouragement


    Messages from Peers:

    You’re awful, you’re useless, you’re not good at your job, you shouldn’t be here, you have no right to be here.

  • How I responded:

    The social life in the chef world is not the norm. Thankfully, mental health is a subject in the profession that has gotten more attention. It needs it because there are a lot of people in the trade who are suffering. It’s not shameful to be overworked or burnt out. Before, life outside the kitchen did not matter. As you grow older, you realize, balance is key. And that’s what being a private chef offers me. It’s work-life balance. It offered me a more normal kind of life.

Experiences and challenges that shaped me

Click to expand

  • When I started off, I was obsessed. All I did was work and sleep. I wasn’t looking left or right, I was just going straight. The reality is that you’re in there, doing 16 to 18 hours a day. You lose all sense of balance.