SPOTLIGHT - ASHLEY RICHARDS
The spotlight turns on our fishing fanatic Head Chef, Ashley Richards.
Ashley, (affectionately known to all as Ash) was born in Ely; and experienced the typical transient military childhood as a forces child. Ash has family connections in the South West and he found himself in Wiltshire, where he has put down roots after living in Oxfordshire. He joined Warminster School in September 2002, to carry out a variety of chef roles, and is now Warminster’s Head Chef and a familiar, smiley face to many. Ash has worked tirelessly behind the scenes for many years, feeding over 1000 hungry Warminster mouths every day. Which is no mean feat! He is married to Rachel, father to Jordan 19, Ellie 15 and a bunch of Koi Carp.
How long have you worked at Warminster?
Actually, I am close to achieving honorary OV status… 18 years. It has gone in a flash!
What’s the best thing about your role?
Fueling our community and wider community every day.
Describe a typical day?
Depends on the term, the day of the week and what functions are coming up. We don’t get many typical days in catering! We organise a team of 11 between two sites and on an average day, we cater for 1,000 hot meals a day, not including the local primary schools that we also look after and any evening functions.
On a ‘typical’ day I change into chef whites, check on the team, ensure everyone is happy, set up and clear on the day’s direction. Work on kitchen staff shifts, menus, for lunch and supper. Preparing, cooking, ordering, planning and meetings with staff and teachers regarding various events.
We also organise weekly match teas, showcase our department on Open Days, Speech Day, Summer Balls, WSPA functions, private events, charity gala events and OV functions – the list goes on.
It doesn’t let up during the holidays either, we have private events, weddings and Summer school to cater for. We like to keep busy!
Why is Warminster a special place to get married?
It’s great to share our beautiful venue with couples and their families. We get great job satisfaction from creating a memorable day and the team love the variety of work. The great thing about a wedding is that it really allows me to be creative and showcase what my team can do. *Weddings at Warminster*
What do you think makes Warminster a special place to live and learn?
Warminster is an enjoyable place to work. We have long days, but we have fun days too. We work incredibly hard, but play hard too and we have a happy team atmosphere, which is crucial to making everything work.
What would surprise us about you?
I was a purple belt in Karate many moons ago and I ran 100 metres at the age of 16 for Berkshire in the English School Championships…
What other Warminster role would you like to try for a day and why?
Director of Sport – I could give Mr Watts a run for his money!
As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
To follow in my father’s footsteps and become a soldier.
What did your school reports say about you?
Ashley could try harder. He needs to focus on schoolwork not just sport.
Your note/advice to teenage self?
Try your best at school and make the most of all the opportunities.
Your mantra/motto or favourite quote?
Work hard, play hard.
Hidden ambitions still to achieve?
Hang up my chef whites and retire to Cyprus. My second home.
Most treasured possession?
Might be a bit unusual, my fishing rods!
Lateness. I am always early.
I have a couple. U2 and Kings of Leon. They were fabulous when we saw them in Vegas.
I have a sweet tooth. I love Haribo!
Signature MasterChef dish?
Full English breakfast, I am told it is excellent! My family also love my Chilli Con Carne and traditional Sunday roast.
Favourite TV programme?
Hawaii 5 0 (the new version) and I enjoy NCIS Los Angeles and At the Races.
Last book you read?
Fly Fishing by J. R. Hartley.
Last movie watched?
Which actor would play you in a movie about your life?
Colleagues have suggested Ray Winstone.
Disaranno and coca-cola.
Favourite place/city in the world and why?
Paphos in Cyprus. It was one of our first holidays abroad as a couple and we fell in love with the place. We try to get out there at least twice a year.
Twitter or Facebook?