Have you met Neil yet?
1. What made you become a catering manager? In all honesty I fell into it, a career in computers and graphic design seemed like the next step for me but I didn’t have the passion for it and couldn’t see myself sat in an office all day. I did at the time however, have a passion for getting drunk! For me it’s just not the catering side but more so the whole hospitality experience – people come to us for many reasons, to celebrate, to remember, meet with family and friends both old and new, all sorts of relationships start in your local. It’s a great thing to be part of.
2. If you’re having a dinner party at home, what do you cook? Leave all the fancy stuff to the chefs. At home I like to keep it simple and serve it family style.
3. If you got your dream job tomorrow, what would you be doing? I’d be somewhere in the Mississippi Delta running a little bar serving the best southern food and listening to the best blues music you will ever hear.
4. Any front of house annoyances? I might sound like a luddite here but a really hate mobile phones at the dinner table, I’ve seen a family of four come down for breakfast and not say a single word to each other. Mum, Dad, Son and Daughter all on their phones
5. What’s your embarrassing work moment? I somehow managed to set myself on fire with chaffing dish fuel. Seriously, my trousers and shoes were on fire! All this was happening in a meeting room of about 40 people.
Their reaction… Oooooooohhhhhhhhh are you okay?
6. What words of wisdom would you give any young manager starting out? Be prepared to work hard, always be available to your team and never ask them to do something you wouldn’t do yourself. Always be respectful and never talk down to anyone, listen to people who have been in the industry longer than you and don’t think you know everything, you don’t. Remember its okay to make a mistake as long as you learn from it. And finally always be a positive influence to the people around you and get ready to meet some characters you will always remember
7. What attracted you to The Embankment? It has it all really, it’s in a great part of Bedford, the team that work here are great and the people that visit us are fantastic. It’s also got everything I want from a place; food, drink, rooms and space to try out new things.
8. Anything you won’t eat? Too many things to mention, I’m a picky bugger!
9. What’s your biggest achievement? I’ve been very lucky to be part of teams who the industry has recognised, both on a regional and national scale from Michelin guides, Les Routiers restaurant of the year, to the Times top 100 restaurants; but my biggest personal achievement is seeing many young faces come and go through the years, lots wouldn’t say a word when they first started and when they left you couldn’t shut them up!
10. And what makes you stay at Peach? It’s a great place to be, it offers a fun and positive environment to be a part of and a clear concise route for progression from a KP onwards. Peach is all about the guest and while everyone who owns a business in hospitality will tell you this, it’s not always true. Peach do this and at the same time really focus on the team, ensuring if you want to learn and progress all the tools are there.