Tuesday, 19 April 2016

2016 So Far

What a rollercoaster of a year, no pun intended.
So our 2016 season has started much faster than I expected with all the changes we made to Fin’s with regard to food offering and menu.  The team have pushed really hard to try and keep us moving forward. The changes we have made are significant and I think show our commitment to producing the best possible food we can with the resources we have.
Changing 90% of our food offering and taking much more in-house than in previous years has proved a test for the team. In simple terms the amount of prep now needed to be ready for service has tripled at least, but it’s proving to be a good thing the team feel more that the menu is there’s and are proud of what we serve.
Our jerk chicken, rice & peas have proved to be very popular and the jerk chicken pizza with riquitto chili pearls and smoked chipotle mayonnaise even more so. Simple preparations treated with care and respect, to make dishes our guest recognise but might not be daring enough to attempt at home.


The strides forward we have made in 16 months are incredible and without the support of #TeamFins it would not have been possible, to see how far some of the team members have come in that time is awesome. I hope we can have another great season and finish stronger than we did last year. I’m sure we are going to face some challenges across the season but it’s as big year for THORPE with Derren Brown’s Ghost Train opening soon.
Away from work watching my baby girl grow into a proper little lady is amazing from first tooth, first steps to first words has been truly special. I cannot take for granted what having Lizzie and Elouise to go home to each day means to me, it makes the hard work and sacrifice worth it. Having just moved into a bigger place with a garden for the first time I look forward to many sunny hours playing with Elouise out there. Finally having the space for a little herb garden and veg patch is something I’ve been looking forward to since we moved in.

Remember Live To Eat Don't Eat To Live

Friday, 1 January 2016

Bye Bye 2015, Hello 2016

So what has happened since I last posted on here, quite a lot to be honest. So at the end of 2014 I was lucky enough to open Pilots Bar and Kitchen in terminal 5, Heathrow and that was up to the point the biggest challenge I have faced in my career. The planning and stress that went into getting that open 3 days before Christmas 2014 was incredible but I was lucky enough to be part of a great opening team, Hannah my GM was immense, Kieran from head office always in the kitchen with me pushing to get it right and peter looking after Terminal 3 for me so I could concentrate on Pilots. 

After 14 months at Heathrow I decided it was time for a change and I didn’t really know what I wanted to do next or where I wanted to work. I wondered should I go back home, should I ask Lizzie and Elouise to up sticks and move across the country to start afresh again or should I keep pushing and looking for something close to where we live currently which after 8 years is now home.

With some gentle pushing by Paul at Towngate I found myself sitting in a meeting room at Thorpe Park being interviewed for their head chef role. I have never walked away from a first interview feeling as excited and wanting the chance to at least interview again. It was a big decision to leave the sort of world I had been working in and join a resort theme park but I remember talking to Lizzie about it for hours over the next few days as I weighed up my options. Lizzie really pushed me think about what Merlin could offer me and what I could give them back.

Ultimately I decide that I wanted to join Thorpe Park and see where the journey would take me. It has been a whirlwind, its been crazy but I absolutely love it I work with a awesome team and have great boss that really wants us to all succeed as a hotel team. 

My first year at Thorpe has been full of ups and downs, the food has improved almost beyond recognition, both FOH and BOH have not had the easiest years in regards to recruitment but the teams we have couldn’t have worked any harder than they did and I am so proud of how far we have come #TeamFins. I have been very lucky in the fact that Sarah our F&B manager has helped, steered and supported me though so much this year; honestly she has been my rock.

I look forward to getting our team back together and showing them what we have planned for 2016, we are not going to sit back and just repeat what we did last year we have big plans for the 2016 season and hopefully in 12 months time I can do another post and have some highlights to share with you all.

I’m sitting at home with music on and a cuppa thinking what a difference a year makes, this time last year I was not happy at work and when your work is such a big part of your life as mine has been it affects your home life also, this year having had 2 weeks of at Christmas for the first time since I left school in 1998. Its been amazing it really has, spending the amount of time I have been able to with Lizzie and Elouise is not something I have taken for granted. To be honest I think Lizzie is looking forward to having me out from under her feet.

I also rekindled my scouting career in 2015 by joining Oatlands Cub Pack as an assistant cub scout leader, those Tuesday nights at the scout hut remind me so much of being that age and the nights we had at the 2nd Brighton, St Richards. It makes you want to give back and pass on what I know and hopefully get one of the cubs onto a jamboree in the future, as that should be ever scouts dream.

I will really try and post more regularly, if there is anything you all would like to see a post about please let me know in the comments.

Remember Live to Eat Don’t Eat to Live