Silverstar’s Maxine Burns, Sous Chef for Billy G Restaurant (https://www.tsogosun.com/billy-g-silverstar) at Silverstar Casino, may be young but she has what it takes to make her mark in a male-dominated industry. This women’s month we acknowledge her dedication and commitment, and celebrate her achievements in her career with Tsogo Sun.
Maxine believes that even though her industry is male-dominated, it doesn’t mean that women can’t find easier and more effective ways to run a kitchen. She says, “To me, women empowerment means being a woman in a patriarchal system and successfully challenging the status quo!”
This dynamic chef was raised by a strong woman who taught her that just because you are a female does not mean you are any less than a man. 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.”
After matriculating in 2013, Maxine spent the next two years studying for her Diploma in Culinary Arts and worked as a Head Chef at Country Meat. This determined young lady was offered the position of Chef de Partie at Billy G Montecasino only six months after joining Country Meat, and in just over a year she was promoted to Sous Chef at Billy G, Silverstar Casino.
Being a Sous Chef, just like any other career, has its challenges and rewards. Maxine explains that you must be a jack-of-all-trades and a master of one! Over and above her regular duties, she keeps all the health and safety paperwork in check, ensures that there are always enough staff members in the kitchen and ensures that she has happy staff members who are always motivated to give their best.
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.”
This inspirational young lady has found that not only Silverstar Casino but the wider Tsogo Sun group has a positive attitude towards women empowerment. She said, “As long as you can do the job, Tsogo Sun will employ you.” Further to this, Maxine believes that the hospitality industry should not change the rules to suit women, in pursuit of gender empowerment. She said, “If we change the rules to give women more opportunities, we aren’t achieving what we set out to do. I want to know that my success wasn’t given to me because I am a woman, but because I worked just as hard, if not harder, to achieve success!”
When asked what advice she would give to a young woman coming into the hospitality industry she said, “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 breakthrough! Don’t give up!”
Details: Visit www.silverstarcasino.co.za or 011 662 7300.