When did you realise you wanted to work in hospitality?
My family and my family’s friends have always been in the hospitality business and I grew up in and around restaurants from a very young age. I think I was about 14 when I really started to get a passion for cooking and restaurant design. My brother and I used to sit and draw concepts for restaurants, some of which were completely fantastical, the imagination you have as a child is incredible.
Where and how did you get your start?
My first ever job in the trade was at one of my uncle's restaurants during school holidays. My first full time position after university was with Conran Restaurants on their Elevate Management program and I started as a Commis Waiter at Le Pont De La Tour in 2005.
Sum up your current work life in one sentence.
Pleasurably stressful and immensely rewarding.
Who has been really influential on your career and why?
There have been several influential people in my career, probably too many to mention, but Richard Caring would be the person who has had the biggest impact on my career. I started working for him as an Operations Manager and 6 years later was the Operations Director, with the relaunch of Annabel’s as a highlight of my time spent working for him. He taught me an incredible amount on how to never compromise on quality, to have an acute eye for detail and above all to think big.
What’s next for you?
I have a very versatile and multi-faceted role now as Operating Partner for Oakley Capital. I look after all investments with elements of F&B, Membership and Leisure. As such there are several projects on the go at any one time and currently I am focused on the expansion of Chucs, adding three new sites in 2019.
What’s your one piece of advice to someone starting out?
I believe when starting out you should identify a company that operates at a level you aspire to, get in there and work hard. If you are in the right place with the right attitude you will end up where you want to be. You shouldn’t be “comfortable” in the first third of your career.
Where did you last have a great meal?
I would say this… but I actually had an exceptional Lobster Spaghetti at Chucs Harrods yesterday.
Are there any openings you are looking forward to?
Allegra in the Manhattan Loft Gardens.
Where is the most exciting city for hospitality?
London without a doubt. I think it is unique in the world in the variety of its cuisines and the amount of quality at every level. We have some of the biggest and best restaurants in this city and yet we still have those magical little businesses that can be real hidden gems that never cease to surprise you.
Who would you identify as a rising star?
Before I left Birley I hired an incredibly promising Head Chef in George Lyon at George on Mount St. He has done wonderful things at that Club and is really showing his personality through his food and I think he will continue to do well.