I’ve grown up in hospitality. Mum and Dad bought Titchwell Manor when I was 8 years old. I never had early dreams of being a chef or working in hospitality – I really didn’t know what I wanted to do – but I think looking back I was always likely to go into the family business. I’d been brought up surrounded by the highs and lows of working in a hotel, so it all felt quite natural to me. It must be like being brought up on a farm and then becoming a farmer: you are training and learning the trade even when you don’t realise it.
Probably the biggest lesson was understanding the 24/7 nature of hospitality, and accepting that the business often takes priority over your private life. I guess it’s the same whatever the sector; the business has to succeed, so it often comes first.
I sometimes felt a little restricted working in the family business because it meant I couldn’t go and work in different kitchens to develop my skills as a chef. But at the same time I was always aware that a lot of chefs, much better than me, didn’t have the opportunity to run their own business or enjoy the creative freedom that gives. I’ve always made sure I appreciate and remember that.
Everyone has their own story, but that’s mine; that’s how I got into hospitality.