Mark Blacker is the marketing manager at Charlton House.
What was your worst job?
Working for a small bakery when I was 20. I had trained as a chef for two years at what is now Thames Valley University (City & Guilds 706) and worked as a chef at the Hinds Head hotel in Bray, Berkshire.
I don't know what prompted me to take the bakery job. I was taken on initially as a "dough boy" and had to do all of the donkey work, like carrying sacks of flour, but after three years, I was making bread, croissants, Danish pastries, doughnuts etc.
What was so bad about it?
My social life was in tatters. I started at 4am three days a week. At 20 you just want to be out partying, but I was always the one who had to go home to get a few hours' sleep. Thursday and Friday nights were the worst because I started work at midnight, so I used to go straight from partying to work.
What did you learn from the job?
Few chefs get a good grounding in making bread so those skills will stay with me forever. When I have guests around for dinner I still make my own bread rolls.
But beyond the obvious craft skills gained, the greatest life lesson was that I had to be reliable and dependable. That bread had to be made and I had to be there, day in, day out. It was very hard but it taught me a lot about commitment.
What is the best bit of your current role?
Every day is different. I get involved in a huge variety of projects, from designing and managing websites to menu design, organising exhibitions, e-mail campaigns, brochures and newsletters.
My chef background has really helped me in this role because our chefs know that I understand food.
There's never a dull moment at Charlton House. As the company continues to grow there are more and more marketing opportunities to be explored.
My ultimate goal would be to take on a more strategic marketing role.