Based in the hip eating district of Glasgow on Argyle Street, chef Rosie Healey heads up the acclaimed Gloriosa restaurant bar.
Challenging the way professional kitchens are run, Rosie is part of a quiet revolution currently afoot in restaurant culture.
“Kitchens can be such horrible environments for people to work in,” says Rosie, “At the end of the day, we’re cooking food for people to eat. It really doesn’t need to be this life or death experience that you find in so many places.”
Celebrate the cook
Rosie learnt her trade from celebrated UK chef, Yotam Ottolenghi but refers to herself as a cook, “Because that’s what we do," says Rosie, "We cook food.”
Simplicity is key to Rosie’s style, “There is a different way of working when you are a cook," says Rosie, "The food we make lacks ego because it lacks technique and that is a very deliberate thing. I simply try to cook incredibly delicious food that people will enjoy.”
Rosie lets the ingredients sing, “If you make gels and foams, it’s not necessarily about making the food better, it’s more the chef showcasing their skills rather than cooking good food.”
Citing The River Cafe, Rosie says,"They make delicious food in a completely traditional way. It’s not about the chefs and it’s only about the ingredients and what is good to eat.”
"I want equality."
Rosie's is pushing for change. "I don’t believe in the hierarchical system of chef,” says Rosie, “It’s me and my sous chef and then everyone else is equal. Even within that, I try not to use that power because I want equality.”
Rosie's methods win results, "My team is creative and we work hard – it’s a happy place to be with a very low turnover of staff.”
Ditch the double-shift
“I worked six days a week in a restaurant for a year. You lose your creativity and begin to not want to be there," says Rosie who banned double shifts for her staff from the kitchen rota, "I think it’s a really unproductive way to work. You begin to resent your job, you’re so tired – how can you have care and make nice food when you’ve done three double shifts in a row? It really perplexes me that this is expected in the industry.”
I’m chatting to Rosie whilst she throws sticks for her dog in the park. Time out is valuable to her and helps to safeguard against a common hospitality hazard – burnout. “It’s not that I don’t want to be there,” explains Rosie, “Rather, it’s that I don’t want my life to be just this one thing. My restaurant is really important to me and I think it is also really important to have balance.”
“I work very, very hard,” says Rosie, “And sometimes I worry that I don’t work hard enough. But the way I run my restaurant means I don’t need to be there all of the time.”
To sum up, Rosie says, “People need to feel like they are of worth, that they are well paid, not over tired and that they’re doing it for me.” She adds, “People care because I care for them. I do believe that.”