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Balfour Evans Catering Ltd

For former roofer Lee Butler a one-day cookery master class gave him a taste for a new career in catering and thanks to The Workshop he is now retraining to be a chef.

The 22-year-old got help from staff at The Workshop who secured a vacancy  for Lee at the kitchens of Edgbaston Golf Club.

Now, under the expert eye of head chef Tim Balfour, who runs Balfour Evans Catering Ltd, Lee has swapped roof tops for kitchen tops.

Lee said: 'After I left school I went to study for an HNC in Construction at the City of Wolverhampton College and then I started work as a roofer which was ok.

'But I’ve always enjoyed cooking and it was thanks to my girlfriend who bought me a day’s master class at Gordon Ramsay’s Petrus restaurant that I seriously thought about changing careers.

'I was put in touch with The Workshop and they found me the job with Tim at the golf club. I’ve only been here a few months and I really love it. The days go by so quickly because I am learning such a lot and there’s so much to do.”

Tim, who’s company has the franchise for catering at the prestigious club, said: 'We have been looking to expand the business because we are so busy and an apprentice was the right way for us to go in terms of training someone up to our standards.

'Given that Lee hadn’t had much experience it was a bit of a gamble but he is motivated and because he’s that bit older Lee is very reliable and keen to learn. He has fitted in very well indeed.

'I know what it is like to change careers. I was an estate agent until I decided that I really wanted to be in a kitchen and so I too retrained as a chef and I’ve not looked back since.”

Balfour Evans Catering Ltd makes all its food from fresh and as well as catering for the club, its functions, members’ dining room and business events, it has also catered for external events for high-profile clients including Bentley, Cartier, Birmingham Mailbox and Rudells the Jewellers. 

Lee said: 'The hours are long and the work is just as demanding and tough as construction work but it’s much more rewarding for me. I get up in the morning and look forward to coming to work.”

Tim said Lee has fitted in really well with our company and using The Workshop made it easy to find Lee who matched our needs.   I am really pleased with the service provided – I feel that Lee has potential and reminds me of a younger version of myself.