Tell us about your new role as Editor of The Caterer – what does it involve?
Leading an amazing team of people to deliver The Caterer brand in print, online and through its portfolio of events, which include The Cateys, Acorn Awards, Caterer Summits and UK Sommelier of the Year.
What element of the role are you most looking forward to?
Learning about a fascinating new industry, how it works and what makes it tick. Eating amazing food, visiting iconic British hotels and restaurants, unearthing some new gems and the next generation of industry leaders. Everyone I’ve spoken to over the past month has told me that The Caterer is the glue that brings the industry together and to take that baton is a real honour.
You previously worked at Newtrade for 10 years, editing titles including Retail Express and RN. In terms of industries what are the surprise differences and similarities between the retail and hospitality worlds?
There are real similarities between retail and hospitality. Both are run by entrepreneurial business people who want to learn and are passionate about sharing ideas and their time. This includes with me, welcoming me into their businesses and helping me get up to speed with this new industry.
What is your vision for the future of the magazine?
On 20 April, The Caterer celebrates its 140th anniversary and we’ve got an amazing issue planned based around giving restaurant, hotel and foodservice operators the tools to help their businesses grow and be more successful.
This encapsulates my vision for the future of The Caterer. It’s played a massively important role in so many careers in the industry - people have found their jobs through The Caterer, won Acorn Awards as their careers develop and are now celebrating winning Cateys as they reach the peak of their game. This heritage gives us great credentials to build on, but we must ensure The Caterer is making a fundamental difference to the way these operators run their businesses now and in the future to ensure we remain relevant for years to come.
What’s your favourite food and what trend would you like to see go mainstream in 2018?
Two amazing meals I’ve had recently that stick in my mind are Smoking Goat in Shoreditch and Lupins, a great little place off Southwark Street cooking seasonal British food with a European twist. I love that kind of stuff. Plus Mexican food, a good honest roast and poached eggs on toast on a Saturday morning.
I’ve listened to industry panels talking about trends like alternative protein heme, vegetable rice, hydrogen water, non-alcoholic cocktails and gut-friendly food, and none of them really do it for me. Pickling seems a good bet, and new places like Little Duck The Picklery look interesting.
If you could invite any dinner guests to join you at your favourite restaurant, where would it be and who would be at your table?
One of the best things about my job is I get to meet some of my absolute heroes every day - legendary chefs like John Williams and Raymond Blanc, iconic hoteliers like Robin Hutson and David Morgan-Hewitt and inspiring business leaders like Alastair Storey and Bill Toner - and often this means eating at the amazing restaurants they run.