What is your current role and what does it entail?
I started my new role in November. I basically work on implementing the correct standards across the business, as well as supporting the development team in pushing the business forward. I have a hand in the training and recruitment of our team too. I work to constantly bring new ideas and concepts to Servest.
Why did you want to work in foodservice?
I’m just so passionate about food – obviously! I have an ingrained philosophy of ‘nature to plate’. I was brought up on a shooting estate in Scotland, and that’s what made me want to be a chef. I recently organised a culinary classroom module for our chefs on the estate, which taught them about game cooking. I wanted to join the industry from a young age and bring what I had already learnt and had to offer.
What education, training and competitions have you undertaken to get this far?
I hold a Higher National Certificate in professional cookery and a Higher National Diploma in Hospitality Management. I’m lucky enough to have won Modern Apprenticeship Chef of the Year and also Chef in Porter at the Salon Culinaire last year. I’ve also been awarded silver in World Food Standards.
How could B&I businesses attract more rising stars into the sector?
By improving the standards in contract catering. And by that, I mean the actual standard of offering and the standards of those within the industry. It’s so important to have the correct food offering for your client, and chefs should want to create a high quality for their clients and bring new innovative ideas to the table, as it were. It’s also important to maintain a good reputation as a company, so people want to work for you, and have opportunities as a result. I wanted to work for Servest because they’re cutting edge, innovative and have a great ethos towards work/life balance.
What do you enjoy about the industry?
I love the opportunity to help develop junior chefs, as this is how I came up through the industry. I also love the feeling of being part of the business as it develops as a company. I love having a client base that is so diverse too, and that we operate in a variety of sectors. Regardless of what site I go to, I want consistency across the board and I love striving to achieve this.
How do you think the industry could improve?
A few years back contract catering had a bad reputation. I think it’s all about improving this reputation and how the industry is viewed. I think training is the key ingredient in this endeavour. Having your entire staff trained to produce a high standard of food is so important. The quality should never deteriorate and customer expectations should always be exceeded. Training should take place both internally and externally.
What trends do you predict for the future?
Classical cooking gastronomy is going to make a comeback. It’s important that chefs take it back to basics. As a result, a higher level of skill will turn into a trend across the board. The cost of ingredients will continue to increase and the aim to be as sustainable as possible will remain on agendas, and rightfully so. As a result, classical techniques and more traditional methods of cooking will shine. International influences and street food will continue their presence on menus also.
What is your biggest ambition?
I want to continue growing as an individual to the best of my ability. One day I’d like to have a family-run business for myself that gives young people the opportunity to progress themselves. I want to climb the ladder and make a success of myself, showcasing everything I’ve learnt along the way.