Undertaking the role of Editor for City OnTopic might seem like quite a challenge even to a well-established student, never mind a fresher! But that’s exactly what Vincent Wood has done. This cheeky chap is no stranger to stressful situations, previously working with Jamie Oliver, and is aiming to take City OnTopic to new heights!
I had a chat with Vince to see his plans for the future of the magazine as well as what it was like working with the ‘naked chef’.
As a fresher, undertaking the role of editor for the university’s magazine, City OnTopic, is quite the challenge. Do you think you are up to it? It’s a pretty big challenge in amongst everything else I guess! I’m lucky enough to have had a year of features magazine experience before I started university so it’s not all new ground, but it’s certainly on a new level. I’m also really lucky to have my deputy Sai Versaille; when the work starts to pile up it’s good to have someone who can pull something inspiring out of the bag to keep you motivated!
What are your plans for the future of the magazine? We’re just looking to make something people want to read, I guess! We’re certainly looking to feature big social issues in each edition. The students at City have this incredible worldview that comes with living in one of the world’s greatest cities, so it’s great to be able to think big, write on important issues and know that we’re on the same page as other students here.
You have never been one to do things by half, have you? Is it true that you were a protégé of Jamie Oliver? Protégé seems like a strong word, but yeah, one of my very first chef jobs was working for Jamie. From there I got headhunted for a Michelin star place and went on to run my own kitchen by the time I was 21, which was pretty insane in hindsight. I don’t think I ever try to end up in these situations, I just never want to stop progressing and it helps when you love what you do.
What is he really like? He’s as cheeky as he seems on camera, full of the kind of banter chefs have when you’ve been stuck in a kitchen long enough. He’s also taller than I expected but that tends to be true of any famous person you meet!
Do you think that environment prepared you for the oncoming stress of editor? Absolutely! There were so many times when we would look at what we had coming in the kitchen and think it was impossible, and then walked away having achieved more than we thought we could. Aside from teaching you to work as hard as you physically can, being a chef taught me that you really can overcome any obstacles if you approach it right. There are times when magazine work feels similar!
Finally, what is your motto in life? I guess I’ve got two: the first is “if you ever have two choices, where one of them is crazy, always take the crazy one. The amount of opportunities that come from taking yourself out of your comfort zone are limitless.” The second is “you can only deal with the future.” People screw up all the time, in big ways and small ways. You’ve just got to stop yourself in that moment, pick yourself up and say you can do it better next time. Ok, now I sound preachy, but they’re just my personal ones!