After completing the 3-month certificate course at Ballymaloe in Cork when I was 17, I was completely enthralled with cooking, and the food industry. I went on to write 2 cookery books, did food writing, appeared on TV shows such as Market Kitchen and set up a small business catering for events and private clients before realising I wanted experience working in the industry, and in 2010 that led me to D&D!
Tell us something you wish you had been told at the start of your career?
Don’t be afraid to sit up and ask for help; ask questions and listen hard.
What do you do in your spare time?
I cook; love entertaining; adore horse riding; and have recently got quite into gardening.
What’s your favourite restaurant or group of restaurants (besides your current one)?
Sabor; River Café; Medlar; and The Butchers in Stow on the Wold.
What would you be doing if you weren’t in restaurants?
I would be in a West End show… or at least trying to be.
What motivates you?
Success and all those feelings that come with it. Beating a goal or hitting a target.
Where was your last holiday?
Oslo, visiting friends. There’s an exciting food scene popping up there.
Which colleague, mentor or employer has had the biggest influence on your approach to the restaurant business?
Darina Allen from Ballymaloe – phenomenal woman; Jean Baptiste Requien – my General Manager at Bluebird for 5 years who pushed me to do better; and Des Gunewardena and David Loewi – unbelievably inspirational in their commitment, knowledge and passion. Working as closely as I have with Des on brand strategy, combining creative with commercial thinking, especially over the past 4 years has been one of the biggest lessons so far.
What keeps you up at night?
Due to the time difference, emails from our recently opened restaurants Bluebird and Queensyard in NYC.
Worst business decision?
Being too much of a control freak.
Best business decision?
Writing a student cookbook at university, which led to a 2-book deal and has since sold 250k copies and evolved as an app.
What are you reading at the moment?
The honest truth is I am reading ‘Jamie’s 30-minute meals’ as I need inspiration for quick easy suppers.
What piece of advice would you give to those looking to climb the rungs in the business?
I am a big believer in what you put in, you get back. So, work hard, put in all the effort you can and want, and watch what comes back to you.
If you could change one thing about the restaurant industry today, what would it be?
100% the way it is perceived as an industry in the sense that a lot of people don’t think it is a forever career. It is the hospitality industry – we are in it to look after people, enhance their experiences and have fun with food and drink; what could be better!
CV to date
Born: London, 1986
Studied: Ballymaloe 12-week diploma course | Business Management, Newcastle University
2008-2010 – Self employed, Food Writer & Chef
2010-2011 – Marketing Manager, Bluebird Chelsea, Floridita, Quaglino’s
2011-2014 – Bluebird Chelsea Sales, Events & Marketing Manager
2014-2015 – Club D&D Manager & Marketing Manager for Quaglino’s, Madison, Bluebird
2015-2016 – Head of Marketing, D&D London
2016-present – Marketing Director, D&D London