Foodservice Cateys 2017: Chef Manager of the Year winner Hanke Fischer, H+J

20 October 2017 by
Foodservice Cateys 2017: Chef Manager of the Year winner Hanke Fischer, H+J

Sponsored by Chef's Pass

The role incorporated menu development and management, backed up by Fischer's 19 years of chef expertise and underpinned by his philosophy of giving customers "food to eat, food for thought and food for their eyes".

He created innovative campaigns inspired by trends such as 'clean eating' and vegan food to attract customers to the on-site restaurant.

To expand the customer base, he created a range of 'free from' dishes that are delicious and nutritious and enjoyed on a daily basis even by colleagues without dietary restrictions.

He also expanded the hot and cold drinks range within BDP's all-day café to include cold-brew coffee and superfood lattes. Sourdough bread was baked daily to emphasise the freshness of the H+J catering offer.

He held gross profit steady at 50% throughout 2016, and he beat his budget by 4% for the same period. Costs were cut by 3% on average through his creative use of leftovers to produce other dish elements. At the same time his use of the freshest seasonal ingredients ensured best price and enduring customer appeal.

Fischer understands that price management is just as important as team management.

He managed his team with trust and respect to allow them to grow within the company and further their career goals. He encouraged a positive team culture, and his staff felt valued and respected for their contribution because he delegated tasks that required responsibility.

He also played to individuals' strengths by positioning them in roles to which they were best suited. The benefits of this approach are clear from the low staff sickness and absence rates, while staff retention throughout his tenure at BDP was 100%, cutting labour costs and maximising team efficiency.

Fischer considers staff development crucial and he used regular appraisals to track performance and identify training and progression opportunities among BDP catering staff. He was the driving force behind commis chef Paulo Goncalves' enrolment on a Westminster Kingsway College course that led to his promotion to demi chef de cuisine - further promotion to chef de partie is expected.

His high-spirited and passionate personality is perhaps the most effective tool at his disposal. His performance at BDP led to his own promotion. In July 2017 he was made general manager for H+J's contract at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in Bloomsburyin London, covering for Rita Takacs while she is on maternity leave.

His decision to leave BDP was not easy, but he leaves behind a highly motivated team and high-performing unit. The next chapter in his H&J career is entirely deserved.

What the judges said
"Hanke shows good innovation backed up by good financials. He is always looking for new avenues of income generation, taking inspiration from health and wellbeing and food trends."
Nick Vadis, Compass Group

"Menu development is a key motivator for him, alongside staff development and driving revenues. I look forward to seeing what's to come."
Simon Esner, WSH

"His enthusiasm and innovation shine through. If I were a young chef, I'd want to work for him."
Al Crisci, the Clink

Hanke Fischer H+J
Chris Howard-Kraft Blue Apple
Gary Johnston T(n)S Catering Management

Past winners
2016 Henry Maasdorp Blue Apple
2015 Nigel Simmonds Connect Catering
2014 Steve Deacon Sodexo
2013 Fred Ockwell Brookwood Partnership

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