What are the main aspects of your role?

As the Personal Assistant to a quite renowned chef, my tasks might vary from the ones of a regular PA, like calendar and email management, to most specific tasks such as taking care of the journalists that come visit the restaurants and to interview Albert. All the restaurants are within walking distance, so I sometimes give journalists and some clients a walking tour around the restaurants and show them the projects in progress. While showing them the restaurant venues I explain the concept and philosophy behind each one.

I also help to coordinate and create the speeches for the chefs that go to gastronomy congresses. Additionally, I take care of offsite events coordination.

Apart from the Restaurants, Albert also offers consulting to some external companies; I handle the projects and actions that might be needed for these.

What is your morning routine before you get in to the office?

I try to get up early and have a nice breakfast. My days are very different one from the other, so there are periods that I have to get up and go straight to work. I literally live 2 minutes away from the restaurants, so I just walk there.

What time do you get into the office and what time do you leave?

Usually, I get to work between 9 and 9.30am; truth is that Albert gives me a lot of flexibility on the start of my working day as long as the work is done.

My end of the day is a different story, working in the hospitality field means that most things happen at night, so the earliest I finish work is usually at 7 or 8pm, and I can stay as late as 10pm sometimes…

The fact of having 5 restaurants imply that many times I have to stay and welcome journalists, or acquaintances to whom I send my regards on behalf of Albert… Therefore my end of the day depends a lot on those visits.

The funny part is that time just flies by. I must also say that most times it is Albert that comes after me and forces me to go home…

What does an average day look like?

The good thing of this job is the fact that it is very diverse, so I always have things to learn, challenges to overcome and goals to achieve.

On most days, I get to the office at 9am, then I’ve got about 2 hours until Albert gets to work (he usually stays later for dinner service and this is also why he comes later in the mornings). Within those 2 hours I have to manage my emails and requests and print him either the week or the day agenda with all the meetings and commitments that we have planned for that day/week.

I must say it’s the first time I’m an assistant, it’s also the first time Albert has one, therefore for us it’s been crucial to get to know each other and the way we like to work. For instance, I’ve created a template with a summary of all pending issues we need to go over first thing in the morning. These kinds of tools have helped me optimize our time together.

Albert’s days are usually filled with meetings, and I usually go with him to almost all of them. When there’s an upcoming event I have to coordinate or speech I need to write I usually do that while he’s cooking or having a regular meeting with his chefs.

What do you have for lunch?

I usually eat with the rest of the staff from the restaurants. The good thing of having more than one is that depending on how my day looks like, I can choose the timing of the staff meal that suits me better… not bad at all…

What is the hardest part of your day?

The truth is that there’s not a particular “hardest part of the day” there are occasions when we can have more than 5 meetings on the same day (product sampling, project proposals, interviews, internal meetings…); consequently we end up very tired mentally…

What do you enjoy most about your role?

Without a doubt the people I work with! Starting with Albert, all of them respect and count on me and this makes me feel useful.

Also the fact that the company is relatively young, and there’s still a lot to be done.

Not to mention that this job has given me the chance of meeting such interesting people: from famous chefs (for us, gastronomy freaks, these people are equal to Clooney or Messi…), cooks from all over the world that come to perform a stage at our restaurants, or just regular people passionate about food that have travelled from far away to try Albert’s restaurants and one can just feel lucky to be part of this…

A day in the life: Claudia Ferreres, PA to Albert Adrià

What has been your career highlight?

As I mentioned before I’m quite new to this field, my career with Albert started two years ago when I started as a waitress at one of his restaurants, Tickets, while finishing my degree in communication. Although hard, being a waitress at Tickets has been an extremely valuable learning experience for me; Not only it’s given me the opportunity to start later on as Albert’s PA knowing first hand his philosophy, but also I’ve had the chance to learn the real basic values of his and his team’s work: passion, hard work and humility; and I can say this has been the most important asset when I explain the whole story group to journalists or people interested on what Albert is creating in Barcelona.

Behind Albert’s surname there’s a lot of respect for the profession that chefs do and perform every day, and it’s important to have that clear in mind when you are someone that close to him on daily basis.

I’ve been very lucky to become a PA of someone that from the very first day has been very respectful and has taken in consideration my viewpoint, asking my opinion and always letting me express my thoughts.

I’m well aware that the job of a PA can be, let’s say, located in “no man’s land” because we do a lot of everything but do not specialize in anything in particular… But the fact of having a boss that respects you and gives you carte blanche because he trusts you, is the best reward that one can have at the end of the day.

What do you do in the evening with your spare time?

As it hasn’t been a long since I took this position, during the first year I only had a few spare evenings and decided to dedicate this time to improving myself as a PA, reading books and, of course, PraticallyPerfectPA. I’m now studying French once a week and I try to go to the gym after work, with this much food going on all day long; I’ve got to burn it somehow…

What is the one piece of advice you would give to other assistants?

I feel a little bit weird giving advice being such a rookie, but something that I have clear to myself is to never stop learning and improving my knowledge. It doesn’t necessarily has to be connected to our job (preferably, yes of course) but at the end of the day you have to go home feeling that you have learned something new, and just because of that, it has been worth waking up that morning.

What would you do if you were not an assistant?

I think it’s the first time in my life that I find myself at the place I want to be and doing what I enjoy… But maybe if I were not an assistant, I’d see myself in the Events coordination field or in a Hotel Guest Relations position.

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3 comments

  • Michelle Smith February 26, 2015   Reply →

    Loved reading this, I think it’s fantastic that you learnt so much from working for Albert in a different capacity (waitressing) that it has enhanced your role now. You have an invaluable insight into his whole working ethos. Plus very envious of your lunch break, much better than a pret-a-manger pre-pack sandwich or salad!

    • renee w March 2, 2015   Reply →

      I really enjoyed reading this article. I too can relate for the past 7 years I have assisted executive chefs. Its a fun and very interesting job.

  • Padmarekha Nirkhe January 6, 2016   Reply →

    Enjoyed reading this interview. The idea of working as PA to a Chef is novel to me. I must be very interesting watching your boss creating various new delicacies.

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