Always loved food, cooking and eating. A good meal brings people together.
Tell us something you wish you had been told at the start of your career?
You’ve got to love what you do. I went initially into food manufacturing and then realised it was the creativity and sensory highs I love about food, not just producing something someone can eat.
What do you do in your spare time?
What’s your favourite restaurant or group of restaurants (besides your current one)?
Too many to choose from but we always go back to The Ledbury and Barrafina in London.
What would you be doing if you weren’t in restaurants?
Travelling, sleeping… or something that inspires young people to cook.
What motivates you?
My 11 year old boy, Thomas.
Where was your last holiday?
Mallorca with my family and friends. So near and so beautiful with great food.
Which colleague, mentor or employer has had the biggest influence on your approach to the restaurant business?
My husband Stephen. Everyone you meet in this industry has something to share so there’s pearls of wisdom to be found everywhere every day.
What keeps you up at night?
Mostly the wood pigeons, but it’s sad to see the sector struggling as it is at the moment. I hope we don’t turn into a country sitting on their own in front of the TV never going out.
Worst business decision?
Not delegating sooner. It’s hard to let go when it’s your baby but you need to for your own sanity.
Best business decision?
Signing our flat away to raise the money to start Pho.
What are you reading at the moment?
I just read nonsense crime thrillers - things like ‘I am Pilgrim’ – to switch off.
What piece of advice would you give to those looking to climb the rungs in the business?
Ask yourself why and only do it if you know it will make you happy. Do it because you love it, not because you feel you should. Upwards isn’t always the answer sometimes you can move sideways onto another ladder.
If you could change one thing about the restaurant industry today, what would it be?
The costs of running a business.
1971 Born in Durham
Studied Food Marketing and Management at Sheffield Hallam University, including placements at Boddingtons Brewery in the lab tasting pints of Stella and at Trebor Bassett writing operational quality control manuals
1994-5 Quality Control Assistant, Get Fresh (manufacturer of sandwich fillings)
1995-2003 Numerous advertising and marketing agencies as an account manager and account director, working on food and drink brands
2003 Travelling around the world
2005 Founded Pho in Clerkenwell
2018 – Opened Pho sites 26 and 27 in Guildford and Exeter