One to one with Keith Vaz

Tuesday 12th December 2017 04:35 EST
 
 

Patrick Drake, now one of the most influential people in the world of food, started life working in one of the world’s most powerful investment banks.

 

Drake led a double life for a long time, working a full time corporate job and working during his lunchtimes in the firm’s fine dining restaurant. In addition to this work he also worked weekends at The Cuckoo Club in Mayfair and weekends with renowned Spanish chef Jose Pizarro. After working for a stint in The Fat Duck in Bray, Heston Blumenthal’s famous Berkshire restaurant Patrick decided the corporate life could no longer satisfy him. At this point he jettisoned the rat race and started to follow his love of food full time.

 

Since then he has been on a whirlwind of activities; creating the world’s fastest cooking course (www.the60secondchef.com), co-founded the world’s largest recipe box service, HelloFresh where he is also Head Chef and presents for Discovery, NatGeo and Fox networks. As all of this he has been names one of The Evening Standard’s ‘Most Influential People in London’ for 2017-2018.

 

Nowadays he can be found filming, speaking, teaching, travelling and smiling.

 

1) Which place or city or country do you most feel at home in? 

 

London has been my home for many years and I love it. Not so much in winter though!

 

2) What are your proudest achievements?

 

One of my proudest achievements was a charity push I organised for The Felix Project last year. We sold 2500 boxes of HelloFresh out on the streets of London and donated every last penny to the charity, so that they can continue their wonderful work feeding homeless and disadvantaged people. I plunged myself into the project and gave myself two weeks to organise everything. Turns out I should have given myself two months, but it's amazing what you can achieve when you push yourself to the limit. 

 

3) What inspires you?

 

Big thinking and compassion. I have utter admiration for those who believe anything is possible and ignore all the (inevitable) naysayers to run after their dreams. Elon Musk and his plans to colonise Mars is a prime example. I'm also inspired when I see people face adversity and negativity with compassion. We may not be able to control global politics, but we can control how we turn up for the person next to us. If even a small proportion of us were more compassionate to those in our immediate vicinity it would have a transformational effect on the world.

 

4) What has been the biggest obstacle in your career?

 

The only obstacle I ever face is my belief in myself. If I believe I can do something then I will do it. There are always times when I'll feel unsure of my ability to achieve something, but inevitably when you break down the task and take it step by step then you'll be on the path to success.

 

5) Who has been the biggest influence on your career to date?

 

My mother and my father (though for very different reasons). My mum always taught me to work hard and never settle for second best. My father on the other hand left us when I was small and in later life sent me a letter telling me he wanted nothing to do with me as I would never amount to much. That moment was pivotal for me as on a subconscious level I believe I always wanted to prove him wrong. Counterintuitive though it may seem, I owe him thanks for that.

 

6) What is the best aspect about your current role?

 

Where do I start?! I love my work. Every day I get to work on projects about which I am so passionate. Whether it's writing our new HelloFresh cookbook, producing videos to teach people how to cook for my online course the60secondchef.com, or just passing on knowledge and (hopefully!) inspiring and encouraging those around me. I had to work incredibly hard and take some big risks to get where I am now, but as the saying goes: "Live for a while as others won't, so you can live a lifetime as others can't".

 

7) And the worst?

 

Admin!

 

8) What are your long term goals?

 

To leave a legacy, to help others reach their full potential and to have a beautiful life filled with health, family and friends.

 

9) If you were Prime Minister, what one aspect would you change?

 

The health of the nation. The key question the PM should ask when looking at this question is "What one thing could I do which would make everything else either easier or not necessary at all?" Where health is concerned the answer to this question is simple: Teach people how to cook. The level of cooking education in schools is a total joke and yet there is nothing that could create so fundamental a health shift as teaching (empowering!) people to cook fresh, inexpensive, nutritious food from scratch.

 

10) If you were marooned on a desert island, which historical figure would you like to spend

your time with and why?

 

That's easy. The Buddha. If I'm going to be stuck on an island for the rest of my life then I'd have plenty of time to work on my enlightenment. I can't think of a better study buddy.


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