David, Development Chef

I’ve been in contract catering for many years, and before joining bartlett mitchell I’d followed the company’s progress closely. I’ve always been impressed with the food ethos and sustainability credentials here – and the knack for winning business in a crowded marketplace. I’d also heard from a friend who works here about ambitious future plans, and decided I’d like to be part of that success.

It’s a great team here – a fantastic bunch who all believe in the same things: food, people and fun. In my team of four, we all get on really well and we’re always really supportive. Pete, our Chef Director, trusts and believes in us. And that’s really important, as it encourages us to be creative, and to go above and beyond to achieve the best results. But what I like most is that food is at the forefront of everything we do. Get the food right, and everything else follows.

All the directors are very clear about their vision for the company. How I achieve my part is up to me. I have access to some great resources – our chefs, the marketing and sales teams, and our suppliers – and this is a massive help when I want to do something different with our menus. I particularly like working closely with suppliers to create something new. Staying one step ahead of the competition is vital in this job, and bartlett mitchell gives me all the tools I need.

I’ve been in catering a long time, but I’m still developing – by learning from the people I work with. That includes new skills and cooking techniques. I never want to feel I’m standing still, and I’m not one of those chefs who say the old ways are the best. I’ve also developed my presentation skills since I’ve been here, getting involved in sales pitches with Simon, our Sales Director. He’s really calm under pressure, and I’m learning a lot from that.

Taking on a broader role in this way is a great benefit of working for an independent company – I can have an impact on the whole business. Most importantly, it’s easy to talk to the owners and directors, to get their input. Being independent is also great from a food perspective: we can support small artisan food suppliers rather than being tied to the big producers. Plus, we can attract some of the best chefs to work for us. They want freedom and creativity, and bartlett mitchell can offer them this.