Week 31 of pastry school brought about a new unit of study towards our Higher Culinary Diploma on resource management. To give us a first hand look at resource management, we were treated to three different speakers who provided us with their unique perspectives on managing resources within their businesses.
Our first speaker was Ben Sulston who is Chartwells Independent’s Executive Chef at Sevenoaks School in Kent. On the side, as professional chef and a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsuBen, he also runs Sulston’s Kitchen on YouTube. His channel focuses on making healthy cooking easy and simple to fuel training and live a healthy lifestyle.
Ben talked to us about his role managing the inventory and financial planning for a large company. He also highlighted the importance of having systems in place to make it easier for having ordering the correct stock, relationships with his suppliers and traceability, and correct labeling of ingredients for all the new allergen laws.
His words of wisdom for us entering the industry are to always make sure you’re getting something out of your job. Even if you don’t like it, or have a bad manager, to always take those things and learn from them and apply those lessons in future experiences.
Our second speaker was Duncan O’Brien, the brains behind Dalston Cola, the ‘craft beer (soda)’ of the soft drink world. Duncan O’Brien is a trained chef and a graduate of the London School of Economics, so his previous experiences lend themselves well to a start-up drinks company.
Dalston Cola is a handmade, natural cola made from juiced lemon, lime and orange juices, sultanas, fresh ginger root, nutmeg, cinnamon, star anise, lavender, and bundles of fresh cola nuts. The other two products in their portfolio include Real Lemonade and Raw Fiyah Ginger Beer. Their Ginger Beer is one of the best I’ve tasted.
Duncan talked about the importance of building a business using a scalable model. He also went over their financial management system and talked about how essential managing the cash flow and projections are for the success of the business.
As an Atlantan, and a fan of Coca-Cola since I could walk, I’m looking forward to supporting a local London soft drink business and grabbing a Dalston Cola when I’m out and about. 🙂
Our third guest, was Chef Paul Merrett, owner of a charming little pub/restaurant/hotel, The Victoria near Richmond Park. The Victoria is a community establishment and they receive a lot of repeat business so the menu is often changing. Paul talked about their focus on using ethically sustainable, seasonal and local (if possible) ingredients at The Victoria.
He talked about his management role and the importance of the Head Chef leading and inspiring the team. That you should always remember where you came from and why you started.
His words of wisdom to us were to spend as much time as you can learning from as many different people as possible. To not just take a job for they money and keep the passion and love of food alive.
During our tutorial, we worked on finishing our resource management project which included controlling resources when planning an event. Accurately planning for your dish ingredients, allergens, working within agreed budgets, the various process involved in budgeting, forecasting and types of supplier accounts. We also looked at the environmental impact and health and safety involved.
Finally, we had to create a weekly rota for a country hotel with a kitchen staff of 18. This was the most challenging part, as I haven’t seen many rotas or had any experience creating them.
The final part of this unit will be completed in a month or so, when we actually execute the event.