Restaurant Manager & Wine at Bar Brett/ Cultar Restaurant Group & Trustee Hospitality Health
- What was your favourite subject at school?
It would have to have been Modern Studies or Art. Overall I really disliked school. I had some amazing teachers and made lifelong friends but I’ve always just hated the classroom environment. I come from a very politically aware family though and I’d say that rubbed off on me. I always found myself very engaged with the classroom in Modern Studies. I’d later in my twenties go on to study Community Development and Sociology at Glasgow University. Needless to say, I hated that too and left halfway through my third year.
- What was your first job?
My first real job was at Oran Mor. I’m proud to say that I played my small part in the opening team. I got a job as a Kitchen Porter but very quickly realised I wanted to be on the other side of the pans. The company made me a Trainee Chef and put me through my Professional Cookery qualification at college. I met some great chefs there and some friends that I’m still close with that have gone on to do great things in hospitality. Duncan McKay (now Exec Chef at Turnberry) was briefly my Head Chef and had a profound impact on me. He was cool, calm and collected at all times. He spoke to his whole brigade on a very understanding level and that always stuck with me. I think he really knew how to get the best out of people.
- Which is your favourite restaurant /hotel?
This is a tough question. I’m extremely biased in saying this but it has to be The Gannet in Glasgow. Going back to eat there feels like home. Peter really has a great style of food. He is true to his ethos on seasonality and sourcing and there are no corners to be cut when it comes to it. This passion really shines through in to both the plates and the staff that are serving you. The decor is stylish yet comfortable and homely, the music always great and of course Kevin Dows hospitality has to be second to none in Glasgow.
- How do you inspire your team
I lead from the front. Delegation is important but I never ask anyone to do something that I wouldn’t do myself. Use people to their strengths and encourage their passions whilst offering support and training to help with their weaknesses. Humility is important too. Be aware of your own shortcomings as a manager and as a person and be able to laugh at yourself. In my opinion people resect the person that is great at their job without taking themselves too seriously.
- Which person in hospitality have you most admired / inspired you?
This is a tough question too. I’ve worked with and been mentored by so many great people. My biggest inspiration though, both in hospitality and in my personal life is my partner, Ava. Ava at a young age had a life-threatening battle with a heart condition that she almost lost. There is not a day goes by that she takes for granted. Her positive attitude and fun personality is infectious and loved by everyone that comes in to contact with her. Combine all of this with her strong work ethic, charm and love for all things hospitality and you get one of Glasgow’s best restaurant managers and hosts. I can confidently say that any member of staff or guest that has had encountered this would agree.
- How do you manage your stress levels?
I get laughed at a lot for this but the answer is simple. I go to the Western Baths almost daily. Whether its to use the gym, heavy bag, pool or just to steam and sauna. It really helps me relax and blow off steam. It also gives me time to just sit and reflect. Reflect on work or on life in general. It’s important to find time for yourself and find what it is that helps you unwind. We in this industry really need to spend more time putting our mental health first.
- Instagram, Twitter or Facebook – and why?
Definitely Instagram. I never got in to Twitter and I feel like Facebook is dead now. Scrolling though bright and eye-catching photos on Instagram just plays well with my short attention span. A little too well, I think. I’d hate to check what my screen time is on it.
- If you had not gone into hospitality, where do you think you would be now?
I like to think that I would have pursued something in community work. Whilst studying community development I worked as a youth worker. My mum has always been involved in grassroots level politics and community work. My mum also founded and continues to run one of Glasgow’s largest food banks with my younger brother. It would be nice to work with them both daily if I wasn’t in the trade.
- What did you do on your last days off?
I’ve spent this last week off in Rhodes. I’ve felt very spoilt here in a beautiful 5-star hotel under the sun, being looked after by some wonderful people. Specifically, I haven’t done much other than relax and eat. I wish I could do it every week when I’m off. Wouldn’t that be nice.
- What do you do to relax, to support your wellbeing?
Other than relaxing at the Baths my biggest mental release has to be getting out on the motorbike. Nothing beats just totally switching off and tuning in to the bike. It’s relaxing, fun and exhilarating whilst also being mentally draining as you’re constantly planning your line ahead and staying in tune with the engine. The most important thing is though, that you just switch off to everything else that’s going on in your head. To me it doesn’t matter if it’s a quick 30 minute blast down the M8 or a 5 hour trip around the twisty roads of the west coast. It just can’t be beaten.