Raidy's: Chef behind Burnley burger takeaway relishing unexpected career change

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When chef Paddy Raidy's new job at the Freemasons in Wiswell fell through at the start of the first lockdown, he was left with one simple, single thought – "What the hell am I going to do?"
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Not entitled to furlough. No businesses taking on. And a heavily pregnant fiancée on maternity leave. The last thing he expected was a drunken chat with pals to be the turning point.

"I was applying for jobs here, there and everywhere – because you could be a delivery driver – but I got nothing. Then a couple of mates said to me, 'Why don't you start making burgers from your kitchen?' It was a drunken chat and I didn't think much of it. Then the day after, they both messaged me to say, you should do it. So I thought, 'What's the worst that could happen?'"

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Paddy Raidy, chef and owner of Raidy's, who started selling burgers from his kitchen during lockdown.Paddy Raidy, chef and owner of Raidy's, who started selling burgers from his kitchen during lockdown.
Paddy Raidy, chef and owner of Raidy's, who started selling burgers from his kitchen during lockdown.

Paddy (30) studied mechanical engineering at Burnley College before completing a four-year welding apprenticeship at Fitzpatrick's in Nelson. It was while working at Pursuit Aerospace (formerly Paradigm Precision) though, he realised he didn't want to spend his days "working like a robot " in a welding bay. Around the same time, a death in the family had also ignited a desire to start a new journey.

"My grandad had been a chef in France and when he passed away there was no-one else in the family to carry it on," said the former St Ted's student. "I've always had a passion for food - even before I was a chef - so I went on Indeed. I found a job as a commi chef – like an apprentice – at the Shireburn Arms in Hurst Green. I just sent a massive cover letter to the head chef about how I have a passion for food, things like that, and is it worth giving me a go. He got back to me straight away and said, 'Yeah'. This is where a lot of people call me crazy, because I took an £8,000 pay cut to basically become a trainee again - but it was something I really wanted to do."

After six months, he moved to the White Hart in Sabden as chef de partie. He was then offered the job at Freemasons. Covid and lockdown had other ideas, but it wasn't long before Raidy's burger takeaway was talk of the town.

"I went big on social media; got all my mates to share it. We only did pre-order and collections on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Within a matter of weeks, there was a three-week waiting list. It was surreal. When lockdown finished, I went back to the Freemasons, and stopped the burgers completely. I wanted to see what it was like to work at that level. I did it for six months. A combination of the money I was earning compared to what I was earning during lockdown, and the fact I had a six-month-old daughter I wasn't really seeing; I decided to go back to doing the burgers.

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One of Raidy's mouth-watering burgersOne of Raidy's mouth-watering burgers
One of Raidy's mouth-watering burgers

"We started outgrowing the kitchen, though. We were only using a small extraction fan, and the house just stunk. When my fiancée's parents were picking our daughter up – even though she had clean clothes on - they said she stunk of burgers. We couldn't carry on there."

Over a two-year span, Raidy's operated out of premises in Bootway and then Bridge Street (on the roundabout next to the Bridge Bier Huis) before a takeover night at a bar in town threw up a more permanent possibility.

"We did a Raidy’s takeover event at the Little White Horse, when it was still Illuminati, and absolutely smashed it. James, the owner, asked me how it was going at the shop, and I said, 'I'd had enough there'. He said he had no qualms about me moving into his kitchen. We did another sold out event there earlier this year, and after that I moved into the kitchen around March time."

The move has given him the opportunity to once again flex his culinary creativity, in serving up Little White Horse's exquisite small plates. And he's not stopping there.

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Raidy's is now based at the Little White Horse in Burnley.Raidy's is now based at the Little White Horse in Burnley.
Raidy's is now based at the Little White Horse in Burnley.

"I didn't become a chef to smash burgers, so it's been good to get back to doing this as well as the burgers. Jack Birch, from the White Hart and Four Alls, is here with me now, and we're going to be doing regular four-course taster menu nights. I do a Raidy's takeover night every Thursday as well.

"It's been a blessing in disguise coming to the Little White Horse. It's a fantastic venue and it's only getting busier. I'm really excited for the future. "

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