What first attracted you to work in the hospitality industry?
As far as I remember I have always wanted to work in hospitality. Being one of five children, our home was always full, loud and fun; I quickly found a central role in energetic hosting and feeding. I really have never wanted to do anything else - the idea of working in an office feels too quiet and constraining.
You studied hotel and restaurant management at Oxford Brookes University. How well did the experience prepare you for the industry?
The course was great for two reasons: the strong training foundation, and the network I quickly developed. At school I didn't really meet anyone interested in hospitality, and then at Brookes I was suddenly surrounded by both a great peer group of like-minded people, and a huge alumni network for support. Some of my closest friends today and the people I turn to for advice I met at Brookes.
Which of the earliest jobs in your career best prepared you for your current role as hotel director?
Resilience or the ability to bounce back has definitely been an important lesson I learned early on. During my time at university, I took a placement year at the Renaissance Chancery Court, London [now the Rosewood London]. As one of the night managers I had a lot of responsibility at a relatively early stage in my career. I quickly learned how to adjust to the sometimes relentless nature of the industry and make sure the majority of the time it is fun.
How did you come to work for Home Grown Hotels?
I'm originally from the New Forest and, having heard great things about the Pig, my wife booked a table for lunch for my birthday in 2014. We were both immediately impressed with the relaxed style and beautiful setting. I had an immediate connection to the brand and the style of operation. Three months later I was on the payroll.
What is it about the Pig concept that appeals to you?
The Pig is home. Honest, passionate, noisy and just like one big family. It's not a concept, it's a deeply ingrained, emotional bond that binds us all.
Describe your career progression since joining the Pig in 2014.
I have been super-lucky to ride the wave of the Pig's growth. I joined as restaurant manager having never been one before. No experience, in at the deep end and a sharp learning curve - I probably clocked up more mistakes than successes. I became deputy general manager in 2016 and in 2018 I was given the opportunity to lead the team at Bridge Place. Let's hope I pull off this role with fewer mistakes!
What is your biggest concern about the opening?
Letting my leadership team down by not being prepared. We have a great team who I am proud to stand with on our journey, so I hope to guide them in the right direction. Letting the team down is not an option.
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