Waitrose Cookery School team
We’ve put together a melting pot of culinary talent, each bringing their own ideas, tastes and expertise to the table. They’ve worked as TV chefs, written countless cookbooks and even served breakfast to the Queen.
Meet the chefs at King's Cross, Finchley Road and Salisbury
Eleni Tzirki, Head Chef Manager, King's Cross
Eleni has been a chef at the Waitrose Cookery School in Finchley Road playing a key role there since its opening five years ago.
A trained patisserie chef, her love for pastry began at home, sparked from her mother's passion for cookery. During her career she has worked at the Ritz Hotel, Pierre Koffmann's Restaurant on the Roof at Selfridges and Bistro Bruno Loubet.
Eleni is famous at the Waitrose Cookery School for her delicious macaroons and creative flavours. With her relaxed teaching style, she has taught hundreds of nervous bakers how to create their own masterpieces at home.
Leyli Homayoonfar, Sous Chef, King's Cross
Leyli's love and passion for cooking stems from a childhood where food was central to family life; her Persian father and Welsh mother encouraged their children to try new and exotic dishes.
Leyli’s first job was at a small, family run Italian restaurant where she naturally drifted into the kitchen learning the secrets of pasta making. Moving around South Wales, she built up her repertoire with French and Spanish cuisine and eventually became a Senior Sous Chef, working in some award-winning local restaurants. Before joining Waitrose, Leyli worked as Head Chef at Jamie Oliver’s cookery school.
Russell Goad, Sous Chef, King's Cross
Russell was born in 1993 in Pembury Kent to a food loving family who cooked everyday with fresh ingredients and loved family days spent in the kitchen. From a young age Russell spent his weekends with his uncle learning all about game cookery and the delights of foraging.
He then joined Waitrose and worked for a number of years strengthening his skills on the Cheese, Fish and Meat counters. This extensive training at Waitrose enhanced Russell's passion for food and was fundamental in providing him with a profound depth of knowledge to pass onto others.
Russell has a great individual cooking style that’s loved by all the customers on our courses.
He is an emerging talent within the industry and in 2015 was one of 3 finalists for the Grocery Aid Cook of the Year 2015 competition which took place at the renowned and prestigious L’Institut Paul Bocuse in Lyon.
Jack Homer, Sous Chef, King's Cross
Jack joins us from Jamie Oliver's 'Recipease' where he was a Food Champion Chef for two years.
He started his career with Wagamama, moving on to Alan Peru's restaurant, serving fusion food to apres-skiers in Chamonix. Swapping snow for surf, he worked at the North Bondi Italian, Sydney (sister restaurant to the famous Icebergs, off Bondi Beach) before settling in London.
His food loves are spices, especially Middle Eastern style dishes and bread making. But his real passion is teaching and Jack has already received great feedback from customers on his very first course taught at the Waitrose Cookery School.
Kendall Zaluski, Chef tutor, Finchley Road
Kendall began her cooking career in a bistro in Canada where she fell in love with pastry. She moved to London in 2011 to immerse herself in the vibrant food scene and learn new skills. After an exciting period leading the pastry team at Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley, Kendall honed her craft in restaurants in France and Italy.
A year in her native Canada followed, where she helped open a southern-style BBQ restaurant. Upon her return to London, she rejoined Marcus Wareing at his new venture, Tredwell's. Kendall welcomes the opportunity to share her passion for pastry with students at Finchley Road.
Andrew Morris, Chef tutor, Finchley Road
Australian-born Andrew first came to London to work as a DJ and music producer, but his love of cooking eventually came to the fore. After retraining as a chef at Leith's School of Food and Wine in London he worked at The Ledbury and The Anglesea Arms in Hammersmith.
His next move was to the Providores in Marylebone where he gained invaluable experience under chef patron Peter Gordon. Andrew and two business partners then launched The Brackenbury which remains a mainstay of the West London dining scene. After selling his share in the restaurant he decided it was time to pass on everything he’d learned and his cooking career has now come full circle.
Jessica Wooldridge, Sous Chef, Salisbury
Jessica has held a wide variety of catering roles spanning 16 years. Before joining Waitrose Cookery School she was Head Chef at the Northey Arms in Wiltshire following a spell as a Sous Chef in The Three Crowns, Brinkworth. Her London experience includes Sous Chef roles at Rhubarb Food Design and Tate Modern.
Jessica has travelled widely, working as a private chef in a ski chalet in The Alps and completing two seasons at The Georgian House Hotel in Alderney. While she was touring Australia she stayed for some time in Sydney where she worked at The Boat House and The Royal Opera House restaurants as Chef de Partie.
Sarah Buck, Sous Chef, Salisbury
Sarah's passion for food first took her to the renowned Tante Marie cookery school where she learned the skills needed to serve as a personal chef to families in the habit of entertaining A-list celebrities and members of the Royal family. She then gained invaluable experience catering for weddings and other big occasions as a chef in a busy events company.
Sarah is committed to locally sourced and seasonal produce and has a talent for inspiring cooks of all ages. She has also found time to sample the rich cultures and cuisines of the Middle East and learn exciting, modern techniques – not least her specialist qualification in Chocolate!
Andrew Roberts, Sous Chef, Salisbury
After training at Salisbury College Andrew started out at the Michelin-starred Manor House Hotel before making his way to the capital where he honed his skills under the renowned chef-patron Philip Howard at The Square, a 2 Michelin-starred restaurant in Mayfair.
Since arriving at Waitrose Cookery School his relaxed teaching style has helped dozens of beginners grow into excellent cooks with the confidence to try new and exciting dishes. Andrew is also a keen baker and frequently creates showstopping wedding cakes for friends and family. He loves keeping up to speed with new food trends and restaurants.