Matriculating in 2013, Chef Maxine Burns achieved her diploma in Culinary Arts before quickly taking on a Head Chef position at Country Meats. Six months later she joined the Tsogo Sun group as chef de partie at Billy G Montecasino, and a year later was promoted to her current position – Sous Chef at Billy G, Silverstar Casino.

On reflecting on her work in the kitchen, Chef Maxine Burns believes that being raised by strong women has equipped her to work in what is traditionally a male-dominated industry. She said, “In my family the wives and mothers lead the households. This taught me to believe in my abilities from an early age. I also work with men who respect me as an equal and who don’t change the rules based on my gender.”

She adds: “To me, women empowerment means being a woman in a patriarchal system and successfully challenging the status quo!”

Her role as Sous Chef involves keeping health and safety paperwork in check and making sure the kitchen team is happy, motivated and well-staffed. Maxine adds, “On a technical level a Sous Chef needs to be able to work all sections of the restaurant successfully, just in case one section in the kitchen is short a hand or under pressure. The Sous Chef leads the kitchen both in the physical work, while at the same time training junior staff to be the best they can be.”

When asked what advice she would give to a young woman coming into the hospitality industry she says, “Be prepared to go against the grain. You will have to prove yourself every day, all day. But, when you eventually achieve it, there is no better feeling of success both personally and professionally. And when you feel like quitting, that’s when you are about to achieve break through! Don’t give up!”

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