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Two minutes with Robby Jenks, The Samling Hotel

Published 11 October 2019

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Under the spotlight this week is Robby Jenks, the recently appointed Executive Chef at The Samling Hotel. Having completely relaunched their food offering, Robby shares with CODE his journey to becoming a chef, the greatest influences throughout his career and the importance of surrounding yourself with talented individuals. 

When did you realise you wanted to work in hospitality? 

I was aged just 14! I started a weekend job as a kitchen porter for a hotel in my hometown of Tiverton, Devon and was completely pulled in by the fast-paced environment and family-like culture.

Where and how did you get started? 

I started to train as a chef when I was 16 after I finished school. I got the opportunity to start working at Tiverton Hotel in Devon as a Commis Chef: I worked five days a week and built a solid foundation of both skill and knowledge.

Sum up your current work life in one sentence. 

Busy, inspired, dream.

Who has been really influential on your career and why? 

Michael Caines who I trained with at Gidleigh Park for over five years all in all. My time training with Michael was particularly formative as it was the first time I’d gained experience in an intense, large kitchen environment.  Within three years I’d made Junior Sous chef and then developed onto a Senior Sous chef role where I helped Michael to develop menus and managed a kitchen of 28 staff. My time training with Michael definitely set me up with knowledge and experience that I still call on today as Executive Head Chef at The Samling.

What’s next for you? 

I was recently appointed as Executive Head Chef of The Samling Hotel so my aim is to develop The Samling dining offering and moving that progression on as the hotel grows. I have already relaunched the food offering here but I want to develop it further to ensure diner choice is put the centre of the concept.

What’s your one piece of advice to someone starting out? 

 Find a good chef to work with, dedicate yourself, work hard and be a sponge.

Where did you last have a great meal? 

The French Laundry in California – Thomas Keller has created something really special!

Where is the most exciting city for hospitality (aside from London)? 

Copenhagen – it is such an exciting hub for the hospitality industry at the moment.

Who would you identify as a rising star? 

I’m hoping to find someone I can have in my own kitchen who’ll grow into that role.

This interview was first included in the weekly careers Bulletin. To subscribe please click here

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