How I Got My Job: TV Chef Erica Drum

"I don’t think I could have predicted my career."

When you’re in school, it’s super hard to have to decide on your future career. There’s already hours of homework and study and you’ll soon be making decisions about college courses and what to do after school. At KISS we’re chatting to people in different industries about how they’ve landed their dream role, what they actually do, and their advice to you.

This week, we’re chatting to TV chef Erica Drum, who talks about being unsure of what to do when it came to filling out her CAO, and finding her perfect career path. 

What is your current role?

I am a cookery teacher, TV chef, on and offline events host, content creator, recipe developer and food stylist.

Can you describe what your general day at work looks like?

I try to start my day with morning meditation and journaling. This comes in waves of regularity! I know I have a more productive and fulfilling day when I start with this. My mornings are often spent at my desk responding to emails, planning corporate cookalongs and sorting out invoices etc. In the afternoon I am usually doing a food shop, preparing for an online class or testing recipes for clients in my kitchen.

How did you decide on this type of career?

I have always been interested in food and hospitality. My mother was a caterer and cookery tutor and would host cookery classes in our kitchen. Our home always welcomed guests for dinner and I loved every bit of the hosting aspect. I started working in restaurants at the age of 15 and absolutely adored it. It was natural for me to work with people and food. Finding out what my exact career would be didn’t come till later.

What did you do to get to this point in your career from after school onwards?

I found it very difficult when it came to the CAO form and was unsure if doing hospitality for the rest of my life could be a career. It was all I knew so I went with my heart and put it down. Nearly 20years later I am in the same industry but I don’t think I could have predicted my career. Between school and now I have worked as a chef, waiter, front of house manager, food truck owner, kids cookery camp owner, hotel front desk and concierge, food stylist, cookery tutor, festival demonstration chef, TV chef, fitness holiday chef and most recently a virtual cookalong host.

What are the ups and downs of the role?

I have been self-employed for 4 years now and it can get a little lonely at times. You are in control of your work at all times and hold all the responsibilities when it comes to earnings and taxes etc. There is no one there to push or motivate you, for me I find self-motivation the most difficult element. Meditation in the mornings can help this. The ups of my role far outweigh the downs. I get to work with some incredible people,companies and brands. No two days are the same for me and I love the variety and versatility of my job. I am my own boss and I really enjoy being in control of my career. My hours can be so flexible, I can see my family and friends a lot more than I could when I worked in restaurants.

What advice would you give to a student looking to get into your line of work?

Be sure you love it. I think what we do for a living should be something we truly adore. It makes up for such a massive part of our lives. On-the-job experience is everything, reach out to people you admire who have careers that you would like. Ask if you can do work experience with them. Start doing it yourself, copy the way others do and make your own, social media is an incredible source to start your platform. Travel, pay attention to anything connected to what you would like to do, take notes and be kind. It is much easier to say ‘believe in yourself’ than it is to actually do so but if you put in hard work paired with passion your dreams will come true.