... Francesco Volgo, Head Chef of Barnsley House
Our talented and acclaimed Head Chef shares a few quick and tasty tales
of what motivates and inspires him in his work and life at Barnsley House
How long have you been a chef... and why the Cotswolds?
I’ve been cheffing for the last 21 years. The Cotswolds was really just a coincidence as I wanted to come to the UK to learn English
for 6 months... and now it's been 14 years!
Where does your passion for food come from?
First and foremost from my Mum's cooking and from her buying fresh ingredients every day. My Grandfather was also a baker and that tradition in my family carried on for another three generations.
Describe your process.
I respect the seasonality of food and I'm obsessed with finding new trends and new techniques of cooking... followed by attention to detail and simplicity on the plate.
What's it like having such an incredible garden at Barnsley
House and working with Head Gardener Richard Gatenby? Having fresh produce from our garden is a big thing for a chef and
I love it... just for the simple reason that we can create an awesome plate of food.
I work very closely with Richard on product and the timetable regarding the vegetables. The veg are picked every morning on request, as I want to keep them as fresh as possible.
What's your philosophy on mentoring young talent and career opportunities with the Calcot Collection?
No philosophy at all. I simply want to pass on my knowledge and passion to people who are willing to learn by committing themselves to cooking. I always say that cooking is fun and you have to enjoy it, otherwise this is not the right job for you.
During my time with The Calcot Collection, I've taken many apprentices under my wing and all of them are still very good friends and working in very respectable restaurants in the area. One of them holds a Michelin star. This is what makes me proud.
Any comment on being an Italian chef in the heart of the sleepy Cotswolds?
I'm just a normal guy, trying to hold onto his strong Italian roots by creating a little Italian corner here at Barnsley House.
and shoulders to lean on...
As a company we like to refer to ourselves as a “Collection” and that’s because, whilst we occasionally add another property to the family, we still consider ourselves to be quite a small and intimate group. For that reason, the training and development that’s on offer within our properties is a very organic affair. We’re incredibly keen that every staff member shows a desire to improve themselves and even keener that we can support and supply that demand. So wherever you think you can grow, do make sure you check in with your line manager and we’ll find the time include whatever is necessary, as soon as we can.
For all our die-hard hospitality members of staff, we have a great system in place to help you reach the heights of greatness. We call it "The Academy."
On paper it looks really rather clever (even if we do say so ourselves) but in working practice, we like to think of it as a well-supported natural progression.
Craft Skill Learning
Focusing on day-to-day tasks and responsibilities, training will be organised by your line manager or the HR team, aiming to help you gain the knowledge and skills that you need to be an expert in your field and master your craft.
3 Month Trial Period & Induction
Your first three months on the job will include all the training that you will need to get you out onto the floor. Successfully completing and passing your trial period means that you can move on (and up) to level two.
Aspiring Management Course
Twelve months in duration, level three tackles the qualifications and training you'll need to become a supervisor and manager of staff. You' ll also learn about business and how efficient management contributes to successful growth.
TICK BOX COURSES TO HELP YOU GET STARTED IN YOUR JOB INCLUDE:
Working at Height
Health & Safety Induction
LEVEL TWO COURSES CAN INCLUDE:
WSET Wine Training
Advanced Barista Training
TICK BOX COURSES TO HELP YOU STEP UP INCLUDE:
IOSH Health & Safety
First Aid Emergency Responder
(Work and Paediatric)
Designed specifically for Heads of Department (a.k.a. HOD’s) the Leadership Programme is all about learning advanced techniques in managing people, as well as making you look more strategically at our business.
Master Innholder Scholarship
(Two-week residential course)
This scholarship is pretty special and involves a lengthy application and interview process to secure your spot. Recognised across the industry as the mark of an excellent hotelier, it is therefore something that is attended by only a select few, but those who do have the opportunity to take it on have (its needless to say) well and truly smashed all four of the levels before it and have therefore become worthy of our recommendation.
The scholarship involves two weeks at either the Lausanne Hotel School, Cranfield School or Cornell Management School. These are undoubtedly, three of the best management training courses
in the world.
We hope that as Calcot Collection recruit, you feel safe in the knowledge that your career will be well cared for by us. Indeed, whether you have your sights set on the Academy model or if a more relaxed development style is what you're hankering for, you can be assured that at the basis of all our training is the desire for you to progress, learn more and develop, both for yourself and for the sake of the business.
We understand that during your time with us, support is the key to making your job enjoyable. When you arrive, you will be assigned a "buddy" who will help you to settle in. You will also be assigned a Line Manager whose role is to ensure that you receive all the training you need to be an effective and happy team member. Last, but not least, our HR team
are on hand to help with anything else you can think of.
From Calcot to Barnsley House to The Painswick, we are spoilt with some very snazzy Spa facilities and as part of our team, we think you deserve to be spoilt too! Therefore any employee of the Calcot Collection is entitled to:
15% off Spa products
20% off Spa treatments
As we are members of Cotswolds Finest Hotels and Pride of Britain Hotels, staff can enjoy a night's stay at any member hotels at the folllowing rates: *
Cotswolds Finest Hotels: £60 (B&B)
Pride of Britain Hotels: £150
*Please note that these bookings can only be made GM-to-GM and booked 7 days before arrival day. Mid-week stays are preferable. London hotels within the Pride of Britain group are excluded.
STAFF CHRISTMAS PRESSIE
When it comes to the holiday season, we like to treat all of our staff members across the board to a voucher that can be used in any of our properties, as a Christmas treat.*
*Only redeemable against product items sold at full rate. Cannot be used with any of the staff discounts mentioned previously.
For all our old timers, with service of 5 years or more, we reward you with an additional day's holiday. And for every year you work thereafter, you get a further day.
*Please note part–time permanent staff are entitled to a pro-rata number of additional days' annual leave.
We want you to take full advantage and encourage ALL of our staff (and your friends and family!) to stay over at any of the hotels in The Calcot Collection.
Generation Hospitality... We want you to be part of it and bring your ideas and passion to the table.
Play nicely... We take how we treat each other very seriously
As a company, we believe that every member of our team should work in a positive, supportive and enjoyable environment.
We believe that respect and understanding for each other is as critical as the hospitality and care we show our guests.
We will not tolerate abusive, aggressive or insensitive treatment of employees or colleagues.
We expect all of our supervisors and managers to share this belief and to follow good practice at all times.
We understand that the service environment can lead to high pressure moments. Managers should do all they can to allevi-ate these and to ensure that team members who struggle in this environment are supported.
The practice of debrief after such high pressure moments should be adopted to avoid misunderstandings being carried forward.
All team members are entitled to fair, honest and constructive feedback on their performance, delivered privately at repeated and regular intervals. There is no justification for failings of any sort to be berated in the heat of the moment or in front of colleagues.
A hot temper, or unnecessary use of offensive language has no place in our business.
Banter has a place, but it cannot be allowed to cross the invisible line between light-hearted humour and offence.
We do not believe in pointless attribution of blame, and prefer to see team responsibility for our performance and a focus on continuous improvement.
All team members must feel free to bring concerns about unfair treatment to the attention of supervisors and managers without fear or recrimination. Where proof can be clearly be established, action will be taken.