Area manager, Wilson Vale
Nominator Caroylne Vale, director, Wilson Vale Catering
Proudest moment “Becoming an area manager for Wilson Vale aged 26 and being able to inspire, influence and develop 110 members of staff.”
Biggest inspiration “My wife Katie and my parents, who have supported me and understood my drive to succeed. Also, all the chefs I have worked with.”
Ambition “To continue my personal development within Wilson Vale and to develop those who will shape our brilliant industry.”
Within 10 months of joining Wilson Vale as chef manager, Tom Jackson’s managerial ability and financial astuteness saw him promoted to area manager. He now oversees 110 staff across eight high-profile sites worth more than £5m, including Conference Aston, the caterer’s largest single client contract, which attracts up to 55,000 hotel guests and conference delegates a year.
At 27, Tom is the youngest area manager in the company and has already laid the foundation for a £235,000 three-year contract extension with EEF Technologies. But what is particularly remarkable is that he only arrived in the contract catering sector two years ago, having forged his earlier career in hotels and restaurants, including two years at the five-star Berkeley hotel under Shaun Whatling.
With the title of head chef under his toque at just 23, Tom recognises he was lucky to have had the right people, tuition and support to move quickly up the ranks. As a result, he is keen to help others, spending up to 15 hours a week training and mentoring his brigade, recently promoting one sous chef to chef manager.
He strives to be a role model for youngsters. In his spare time, for instance, he is working on a cookery workshop concept to inspire children to cook and to consider a career as a chef.
At just 17, Tom was named Student of the Year at Stratford Hospitality & Catering College, graduating with a distinction in an NVQ Level 3 Advanced Culinary Diploma. He was a finalist in the British Culinary Foundation for National Young Chef of the Year 2013 and reached the national finals of Britain’s Best Brigades.