Recently I’ve spent a fair bit of time judging other people’s work at awards and competitions. After turning 46 last week, I’m starting to realise I do have some experience to share, but it’s still a strange position to be in. What it has made me realise is the myriad ways chefs contribute to society through their craft.
I believe we should inspire young people to take their futures into their own hands, whatever their starting point in life. There are so many ways this can be done and often it’s the smallest and simplest interventions that have the furthest reaching impact.
The work we do is so much more powerful when we connect, collaborate and share our knowledge with others. This is something I feel strongly about, so I get out and about as much as I can to make new connections.
Challenging yourself and doing something you wouldn’t normally do can be a revelation. It creates inspiration and gives a breath of fresh air – I’ve witnessed how getting outside your comfort zone can change lives.
Social enterprises and charities are spending too much time fighting over funds instead of fighting for people. The House of Commons All Party Parliamentary Group invited me to share my experiences about this last week, and it struck me just how much they rely on our sector to solve the big social problems of our times.
Innovation in the hospitality sector is about more than Michelin starred restaurant food. It’s about developing interesting ingredients and creating entirely new products across the whole industry, as well as the industry being more open-minded when it comes to career opportunities and encouraging young people to enter this exciting and fast moving world of hospitality.
It's hard to escape all the apps and services delivering takeaways and food from almost any brand these days. But I can't help thinking this trend is taking us away from fresh produce and the social rituals that come from cooking.
I didn't really excel at school, so I never imagined I'd become a social entrepreneur who helped homeless people get back into work. In itself, that's an important lesson for people I come across through the Beyond Food Foundation and Brigade restaurant.