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Pursuing Perfection


Zandy Armstrong worked for five years in the industry before she received the opportunity to work at Restaurant JAN, where she learned the importance of community.

How did your internship journey with the JAN Group occur?

I was transitioning between jobs and moving cities when I was offered an extraordinary opportunity to take a 3-month stage position in Nice. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity I could not turn down.
What was your level of experience when you started your internship journey?

I had been in the industry for almost five years, working under some of the very best chefs in the industry; I had just left a senior Chef de Partie position and was transitioning to a Head Chef position when I was offered the Stage.

What is the most valuable lesson you learned during your time with the JAN GROUP?
The importance of community and good work-life balance. Awareness of our impact as chefs on the environment with incredible recycling systems and the move away from single-use plastic. There are so many things.
What new skills have you learnt as part of your work experience?
New challenging recipes, better time management, better people skills.
What was the most challenging part of your experience?

The language barrier when travelling to France, although luckily, the team at Restaurant JAN all spoke eloquent English, made it sometimes an exciting and entertaining challenge to buy ingredients for the restaurant.

What surprised you the most about your actual working experience compared to your expectations of the job prior to starting?
I was pleasantly surprised to be able to get experience working with ingredients that I would not have otherwise been able to work with in South Africa. Chef Scott [Armstrong, former Head Chef of Restaurant JAN] was amazing in bringing in ingredients for us to work with and get experience with. I had the opportunity to learn how to properly prepare lobster, Beef Wellington and sea urchins, among other things. What I also loved was learning how to adapt to different work cultures and be open to new ideas and more finesse in my work
How would you describe the JAN company culture?

It’s definitely a close-knit team, with everyone striving for the best for themselves and their team. We have a great work-life balance, and we work hard in the pursuit of perfection in work and life.

What would you consider to be some of the essential qualities for a successful internship?
Be open-minded and ready to put yourself out there. Be honest with yourself and your team. Be kind and considerate. Be someone who strives for the best.
How has your internship been beneficial to you and your career? Tell us about where you are in your career now.
It made me aware that there is more out there than I ever thought possible. I also have had the opportunity to move into a head chef role and the confidence to know that there are many other opportunities available to those prepared to take a risk.
Why do you believe working with the JAN Group specifically would benefit your career?

It is a prestigious brand that is well-known by many. It is multifaceted because it’s not just a “restaurant” group. The innovation studio develops products, and destination dining is throughout the group. The JAN Group works in partnership with many other companies, be it through marketing via  JAN the Journal, which also branches into food photography and design.

What would your advice be to someone who wishes to embark on an internship or work-experience journey with the JAN Group?

Grab that opportunity with both hands and run with it. Be open to new ways of doing things and new cultures and experiences. It is an incredible team to be a part of, but your experience will be determined by your own attitude and input.

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