Profile

John Langford

President Year

1989 - 1990

Pioneer Year

2006

Trained and qualified in the UK – completed apprenticeship in 1959. During period of apprenticeship trained in both UK and Europe. Upon completion of apprenticeship worked in regional hotels for a short period prior to joining P & O Orient Lines as a Cook. Served with P & O for 5 years on passenger liners both on the Far East run, Australia/America run and some Mediterranean and American cruises. The last 3 years served on “SS Canberra” with positions of Chef Poissonier , Chef Garde-Manager, and finally as Chef Saucier in the first-class galley. Migrated to Sydney, Australia in May 1965. Within 3 days of landing commenced work as a Cook with Qantas Airways. This has led so far to a career encompassing 41 years in the catering side of the aviation industry. For all but one of those years serving in a supervisory and/or management capacity. Since joining the aviation industry the following positions have been held:

  • Sous Chef, Qantas Airways, Sydney
  • Executive Chef, Qantas Airways, Perth
  • Catering Centre Manager, Qantas Airways, Perth
  • Corporate Executive Chef, Australian Airlines, Melbourne
  • State Manager, Alpha Flight Services, Tasmania
  • National Standards Manager, Alpha Flight Services

During this airline industry career there has been a heavy commitment to apprenticeship training, industry organisations and judging. Also as a member of several advisory Boards to TAFE and the industry particularly during the years spent in Western Australia and Tasmania. In Western Australia for a number of years served as one of two State Examiners for the Department of Labour and Training. At this time the West Australian Government would not accept TAFE qualifications as an indicator of competency for apprentices completing their training without a final independent examination. An inaugural member and Secretary of Les Toques Blanches, Western Australia. An inaugural member and Past President of Les Toques Blanches, Victoria. At this time still heavily involved in industry organisations. John’s Inaugural Speech President, fellow members of LTB, fellow recipient Philippe Mouchel, apprentices, guests, ladies & gentlemen The president has asked me to detail some aspects of my career achievements, professional experiences, and things that keep me motivated in the job, and a few tips for young professionals. In the time he has allowed me it will of necessity be brief as fitting in experiences of nearly 50 years in the industry, does not necessarily fit into his time line. Firstly, in accepting this award is very humbling to be recognised by your peers for your contribution is perhaps the most rewarding of achievements. I must however recognise the support I have had from my teachers, mentors and family. Without there input, training, commitment & patience I would not be standing here. In looking back, my introduction to the industry came at age 9. Because of my family situation my mother each Sunday use to take me to the hotel where she worked in Torquay, England. Better known these days as the home of Faulty towers! Because in those days I was shy, I use to hide in the kitchen and watch the chaos at service time. After some time the chef used to give me small jobs to do (free labour) which furthered my interest. I remember one day I asked the chef why there was always Windsor soup on the Table de hote menu every Sunday. He replied, son this is a secret but I will tell you “I take the soup left over every other day of the week put in a pot and add some blackjack re-boil it and that’s Windsor soup” very popular. I vowed then that it was one thing I would never cook and definitely would not eat! This was followed by me going into the industry at 15 years of age and I have never considered working in any other industry. My working career has seen me work in hotels, restaurants, the British merchant navy and 41 years in the airline industry. It’s a career path that has allowed me the joy of seeing countries in every continent of the world, meeting and working with some fantastic chefs and given me the opportunity to eat foods that some many people can only dream of affording. Mind you it has also put me in situations where i have had to eat some strange and exotic foods that I will not dwell on that in this forum. My career, particularly in the airline industry, has given me the opportunity to cook for people such as the queen, and other members of the royal family, pope John Paul and prince Hiro Hito of Japan (who had 4 official food tasters in the kitchen during the complete preparation of the food) to mention a few. In terms of my achievements, yes, it has nice to compete & win competitions and medals though to me they are on the day achievement. When I really look at it, I consider my greatest achievements to be in the area of apprenticeship training and putting back into the industry that has been my life. Having worked in several states in Australia, one humorous instance I vividly remember was as a department of labour state examiner for apprentices in WA I was asked to examine an apprentice at Bandyup women’s prison. After setting the exam I mistakenly asked the warder why to apprentice was in prison, only to be told she had put an axe through her husband’s head. It was rather fortunate that I had no need to fail her! To the younger professionals, my advice is to make sure that you have a good basic knowledge of cooking (read & digest). That you realise that the day you finish your apprenticeship you have become a professional cook and are at the start of your journey in the industry, though you may like to think otherwise. Always question and be inquisitive, everything we are told is not necessarily fact take the time too verify the information. To succeed you need – Need to have a dream, Without dreams nothing great is achieved. Love – A love of what you do, without love you will not succeed. Passion – Always cook with passion, passion will make what you do different it will give you the will to strive and experiment that makes the difference between success and mediocrity, without that passion both the dream and the love of the job will die! I would like to leave you with to quotes by the great French gourmet Anthelme Brillat-Savarin who wrote in physiology du gout in 1825 and which still I believe hold relevance today. “Cooking is the most ancient of the arts, for Adam was born hungry”. The second and perhaps a little more relevant “The discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a new star”. The future is yours – use it wisely. Thank you for this award, I am very appreciative. Trained and qualified in the UK – completed apprenticeship in 1959. During period of apprenticeship trained in both UK and Europe. Upon completion of apprenticeship worked in regional hotels for a short period prior to joining P & O Orient Lines as a Cook. Served with P & O for 5 years on passenger liners both on the Far East run, Australia/America run and some Mediterranean and American cruises. The last 3 years served on “SS Canberra” with positions of Chef Poissonier , Chef Garde-Manager, and finally as Chef Saucier in the first-class galley. Migrated to Sydney, Australia in May 1965. Within 3 days of landing commenced work as a Cook with Qantas Airways. This has led so far to a career encompassing 41 years in the catering side of the aviation industry. For all but one of those years serving in a supervisory and/or management capacity. Since joining the aviation industry the following positions have been held:

  • Sous Chef, Qantas Airways, Sydney
  • Executive Chef, Qantas Airways, Perth
  • Catering Centre Manager, Qantas Airways, Perth
  • Corporate Executive Chef, Australian Airlines, Melbourne
  •  State Manager, Alpha Flight Services, Tasmania
  • National Standards Manager, Alpha Flight Services

During this airline industry career there has been a heavy commitment to apprenticeship training, industry organisations and judging. Also as a member of several advisory Boards to TAFE and the industry particularly during the years spent in Western Australia and Tasmania. In Western Australia for a number of years served as one of two State Examiners for the Department of Labour and Training. At this time the West Australian Government would not accept TAFE qualifications as an indicator of competency for apprentices completing their training without a final independent examination. An inaugural member and Secretary of Les Toques Blanches, Western Australia. An inaugural member and Past President of Les Toques Blanches, Victoria. At this time still heavily involved in industry organisations. John’s Inaugural Speech President, fellow members of LTB, fellow recipient Philippe Mouchel, apprentices, guests, ladies & gentlemen The president has asked me to detail some aspects of my career achievements, professional experiences, and things that keep me motivated in the job, and a few tips for young professionals. In the time he has allowed me it will of necessity be brief as fitting in experiences of nearly 50 years in the industry, does not necessarily fit into his time line. Firstly, in accepting this award is very humbling to be recognised by your peers for your contribution is perhaps the most rewarding of achievements. I must however recognise the support I have had from my teachers, mentors and family. Without there input, training, commitment & patience I would not be standing here. In looking back, my introduction to the industry came at age 9. Because of my family situation my mother each Sunday use to take me to the hotel where she worked in Torquay, England. Better known these days as the home of Faulty towers! Because in those days I was shy, I use to hide in the kitchen and watch the chaos at service time. After some time the chef used to give me small jobs to do (free labour) which furthered my interest. I remember one day I asked the chef why there was always Windsor soup on the Table de hote menu every Sunday. He replied, son this is a secret but I will tell you “I take the soup left over every other day of the week put in a pot and add some blackjack re-boil it and that’s Windsor soup” very popular. I vowed then that it was one thing I would never cook and definitely would not eat! This was followed by me going into the industry at 15 years of age and I have never considered working in any other industry. My working career has seen me work in hotels, restaurants, the British merchant navy and 41 years in the airline industry. It’s a career path that has allowed me the joy of seeing countries in every continent of the world, meeting and working with some fantastic chefs and given me the opportunity to eat foods that some many people can only dream of affording. Mind you it has also put me in situations where i have had to eat some strange and exotic foods that I will not dwell on that in this forum. My career, particularly in the airline industry, has given me the opportunity to cook for people such as the queen, and other members of the royal family, pope John Paul and prince Hiro Hito of Japan (who had 4 official food tasters in the kitchen during the complete preparation of the food) to mention a few. In terms of my achievements, yes, it has nice to compete & win competitions and medals though to me they are on the day achievement. When I really look at it, I consider my greatest achievements to be in the area of apprenticeship training and putting back into the industry that has been my life. Having worked in several states in Australia, one humorous instance I vividly remember was as a department of labour state examiner for apprentices in WA I was asked to examine an apprentice at Bandyup women’s prison. After setting the exam I mistakenly asked the warder why to apprentice was in prison, only to be told she had put an axe through her husband’s head. It was rather fortunate that I had no need to fail her! To the younger professionals, my advice is to make sure that you have a good basic knowledge of cooking (read & digest). That you realise that the day you finish your apprenticeship you have become a professional cook and are at the start of your journey in the industry, though you may like to think otherwise. Always question and be inquisitive, everything we are told is not necessarily fact take the time too verify the information. To succeed you need – Need to have a dream, Without dreams nothing great is achieved. Love – A love of what you do, without love you will not succeed. Passion – Always cook with passion, passion will make what you do different it will give you the will to strive and experiment that makes the difference between success and mediocrity, without that passion both the dream and the love of the job will die! I would like to leave you with to quotes by the great French gourmet Anthelme Brillat-Savarin who wrote in physiology du gout in 1825 and which still I believe hold relevance today. “Cooking is the most ancient of the arts, for Adam was born hungry”. The second and perhaps a little more relevant “The discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a new star”. The future is yours – use it wisely. Thank you for this award, I am very appreciative.

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