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Trainee chef kick starts career at Stratford’s Café Football

Professional Cookery apprentice Julia Mcclarron Professional Cookery apprentice Julia Mcclarron

Monday, February 24, 2014
7:00 AM

A trainee chef is on the way to realising her dream of making it big in the restaurant industry.

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Newham College student Julia McClarron, 22, works as an apprentice in Stratford’s Café Football as part of her diploma in professional cookery.

The horse-riding enthusiast used to work in a London Bridge restaurant but wanted to gain a formal qualification.

“It’s great because you quickly find out whether you want to be in the industry,” she said. “You’re not just learning theory, you’re working in a real environment. It’s a totally different atmosphere than a classroom. You find out how hard work it can be and about interacting in a team, which is vital in hospitality, plus you’re also earning while you’re learning.”

Launched by former Manchester United teammates Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs last December, Café Football attempts to combine quality food with the beautiful game.

Julia has cooked from five. Born in Germany, she has spent much of her life in Greenwich and now lives with her grandad in Plumbstead.

She draws inspiration from celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal and the café’s creative director, Michael Wignall. “I’m ambitious, so hopefully in 10 years’ time I will be a sous-chef, working under the head chef and running the kitchen,” Julia added. “To me being a chef is more than a job. You should do things properly or don’t bother at all.”

For more about Newham College apprenticeships visit

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