How and when did you come about working for Brakes?
I moved from a contract caterer to join Brakes as a sales rep many years ago, because I had previously bought from Brakes and considered it to offer fantastic food and a great level of customer service. My journey has taken me from working in sales through to account management, and subsequently into the channel development side of the business. It’s been a great journey!
What are the most rewarding elements of your role?
The best part of my role without question has to be presenting the fantastic food and concepts that we create across Brakes - we are currently showing our newly produced range of Buddha bowls to customers. I have a great team of very talented chefs who never fail to inspire and delight when showing their food creations.
Working closely with the education and care channels, what have been the biggest step changes in those areas of the market in recent years?
For many years school feeding has been on the media agency as a result of the campaigning of Jamie Oliver, as well as The School Food Plan initiative, UIFSM and the recent election where once again it became a political hot topic.
Catering in the care sector has witnessed financial issues nationwide with funding for meals being cut and budgets squeezed for care homes, but the providers continue to offer residents the absolute best they can.
School catering has never been so good and something the industry should be proud of.
How can brands be more proactive in collaborating with Brakes in the cost sector environment?
Added value is key over and above the product itself. The product needs to be good but brands standout by offering more than just a transactional relationship with their distribution partner and end user alike.
You must have visited numerous care homes in your career - What’s the most innovative establishment you’ve seen and why (what did they offer their residents over any other)?
I don't think I can really pin point one particular provider or residence, but I can say I have been to so many amazing care homes that I feel quite privileged. Respecting a resident’s dignity and treating everybody as an individual, to me is one of the most important aspects of a resident’s care. A care home is exactly that a ‘home’ and besides the weather, food is one of the most talked about subjects of the day by residents - they deserve to be delighted at every meal.
What’s been the biggest achievement in your career to date?
I am proud to be associated with and support the movement that is now known across the industry as meals@more. Ken McMeiken in his time as CEO had a vision to create a movement to support and try and eradicate "holiday hunger ". Those children that out of the school term and school meal not have access to good and or sufficient food. The second reading of the proposed bill was read in Parliament on 19th January and I am so proud of all that Brakes has done to help raise this important issue across the foodservice industry.
If you had to choose 3 people to be fellow residents when you’re old and retired (it will come to us all!) who would they be?
Keith Lemon to make me laugh, Michel Roux Jnr to cook delicious food and Robbie Williams because I am of that age!