Total years spent working within the industry?
13 years… my gosh!
How did you get into Hospitality?
As a child I’ve always loved food, be it cooking or eating, food has always been my main passion. At high school, Food Technology was my favourite A level subject and growing up in Wolverhampton in the ’90s, my home town didn’t really have a very cosmopolitan dining scene so to become a chef wasn’t really much of an option. When the time came to go to university, a high school teacher took me aside and told me if I was serious about becoming a chef I should consider the University College Birmingham who specialised in food-related degrees.
After attending an open day, I had my heart set on studying BA Culinary Arts Management. The next 4 years of studying for my degree opened up a whole new world for me. My degree was very hands-on and being a practical degree, having work experience was always encouraged. Whilst studying I always had at least 2 kitchen jobs on the go, starting off as Kitchen Assistant and working my way up to a kitchen manager. As high pressured and demanding as the world of Hospitality can be, I can’t imagine working in any other industry.
What do you most enjoy about this industry?
Meeting people from all walks of life, hearing about people’s journeys and stories, working with food, making people happy through food, the resilience, the passion, the potential.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Prior to lockdown if I’m working on a food manufacturing contract (Nitisha Patel Foods Consultancy), I could be based anywhere in the UK developing new food products for the mass market. I would start the project by developing new recipes in a development kitchen and then I would finish by taking the recipes down to the factory for mass production, which would then end up on a supermarket shelf.
When I’m out of contract, I’m based at home in Wolverhampton. I’m usually working on smaller projects either for myself or smaller brands, I could be doing anything from creating content for my own social media or I could be creating a new menu for a new restaurant concept.
Typically, my ‘work days’ often differ depending on what projects I’m working on
The single most important piece of advice given to you?
A female manager once ‘advised’ me to ‘flutter my eyelashes’ and ‘massage the ego of my male colleagues’, to get the project done. Despite not listening to this advice, I’ll always regard its importance, as it’s a constant reminder of the woman I NEVER want to be.
Three dinner guests - who would they be?
I will just have the two, Keith Floyd and Anthony Bourdain.
The last book you read or documentary watched?
Book -Good Vibes Good Life by Vex King, and documentary - Parts Unknown, Anthony Bourdain.
Finish the sentence, the future in hospitality is…
Dynamic, Resilient & Ever Adapting