Chef preparing a cooked meat dish in the kitchen

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The catering and hospitality sector in Stevenage

  • Head chef salary (November 2019) in Stevenage: £31,000 a year / £15 per hour
  • Sous chef salary (November 2019) in Stevenage: £29,000 a year / £14 per hour
  • Chef de partie salary (November 2019) in Stevenage: £23,000 a year / £11 per hour

Founded in 1946 as Britain’s first new town, Stevenage is a offers a unique balance of urban and rural living. Located in Hertfordshire just 20 minutes away from London via train, it’s a great place to experience the hustle and bustle of the capital at arm’s length.

With its optimistic beginnings and big-city connections, it’s perhaps no surprise that Stevenage has propelled up to the business sky. The town is home to numerous international corporations including Airbus. And in 2019, a £1 billion regeneration plan to modernise the town centre was announced — helping to bring some much-needed colour to its infamously grey architecture.

In Stevenage, there’s certainly a lot to entertain you. Aside from unique shops, the 1,200-capacity Gordon Craig Theatre, and Stevenage Museum, the town centre is home to a diverse range of restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs. The historic High Street also has a flourishing food and drink scene. No wonder that catering and hospitality professionals are starting to view Stevenage as a serious option.

Thanks to a strong, diverse local economy, wages in Stevenage are above than the national average and among the highest in Hertfordshire. In the catering and hospitality sector, a head chef in Stevenage will earn around £31,000 a year. Meanwhile, a part-time sous chef can earn around £14 per hour.

For chefs looking to expand their culinary repertoire in and around Stevenage, opportunities such as the Catering & Hospitality courses at North Hertfordshire College can help you upskill.

Stevenage often gets a bad rep. With its brutalist buildings, some might say it’s stuck in the 70s. But with fantastic transport connections, ongoing regeneration and a thriving hospitality scene, there are certainly worse places for chefs to enhance their careers.

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Cost of living in Stevenage

  • Average monthly rent in Stevenage: £700-£1,300
  • Monthly travel pass: £55
  • Meal for two in a mid-range restaurant: £45

Housing in Stevenage is much cheaper than nearby commuter towns such as Hitchin. The average property rent in Stevenage costs around £889 per calendar month. 1-bedroom apartments are on the rental market for around £750, while 3-bedroom apartments in Stevenage cost roughly £1,200 pcm. The New Town area of Stevenage is cheaper than the Older Town, making it perfect for those on a budget.

One of the biggest draws to Stevenage is its superb transport connections. By rail, Stevenage station runs direct services to London Kings Cross, Newark, Cambridge and Leeds. At peak times, seven to eight trains per hour run to central London with a journey time of 20 to 25 minutes. Those with a car will also be able to get around with ease the town is located on the A1(M) and the M25 is just a 25-minute drive away.

In and around Stevenage, the public transport network gets you from A to B in a cheap and efficient way. Buses connect all parts of town with the suburbs and surrounding towns and villages, with an adult day ticket costing just £3.30.

In Stevenage supermarkets, food and drink cost the same as anywhere else in the country. Eating out is also decent value for money. A three-course meal for two in a mid-range restaurant will set you back around £45.

The amount you pay for council tax in Stevenage depends on the neighbourhood you live in and the value of the property you buy or rent. Further info on council tax bands can be found here.

Bars, kitchens and restaurants in Stevenage

Stevenage is a relatively multicultural town, and this coupled with its proximity to London make it a natural home for an eclectic food and drink scene. Whether you’re after a hearty English roast dinner in a traditional pub or a spicy Thai meal in an atmospheric restaurant, there’s a good chance that Stevenage will serve up the goods.

For fine dining, most of the best restaurants within the town are clustered around the Old Town’s High Street. On the Green is set within a Grade II-listed building and provides a delicious selection of traditional food, from seared wood pigeon breast to salted caramel cheesecake. el bar de tapas is a cosy family-run eatery that creates mouthwatering dishes by “combining the finest imported products with sustainably sourced local produce.” Arguably the best Turkish in town, Misya Meze & Grill will delight meat lovers and veggie/vegan diners alike.

Other local favourites on High Street include Cinnabar, an elegant cafe that doubles up as a restaurant, cocktail bar and club later in the evening; The Fish and Chip Shop, a traditional chippy with a contemporary feel; Sala Thong, the go-to place for the flavours of Thailand; and Mohan Tandoori, a popular Indian restaurant with a casual feel.

Away from the bustling High Street, there are also some great food hotspots in the suburbs and outlying villages. Located on Chells Way, the light and airy interior of Gangnam Restaurant is a great setting to try the best food from the Korean peninsula. On the B-road to Knebworth, the in-house Nirvana restaurant at The Roebuck Inn serves up fantastic Indian cuisine. And a host of gastropubs including The Fisherman, The Crown and George and Dragon provide top-notch food-and-drink combos for punters young and old.

In addition to many independent food and drink businesses, Stevenage boasts various national and international food and drink chains. Popular catering and hospitality employers around town include ASK Italian, Frankie & Benny’s, Toby Carvery, Prezzo, Nando’s and TGI Fridays.

Outside of Stevenage’s dining scene, there are literally hundreds of kitchens in locations as varied hotels, hospitals, sports venues, care homes, schools and colleges — many of which are constantly on the lookout for talented staff to improve their customer experience. With so many employment options, Stevenage is a great place for hospitality and catering professionals to further their career ambitions.

If you enjoy working in a close-knit team and have a clear passion for food and drink, take the next step toward your new career and search for catering and hospitality jobs in Stevenage with Blue Arrow today.

Where to find Blue Arrow in Stevenage

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