What it’s like to have one of the tastiest jobs in the business
Senior Food Development Manager, Daniel Wilkes, reveals what it’s like to have one of the tastiest jobs in the business. In every kitchen across our 1,700 pubs and restaurants, our chefs serve up delicious dishes daily - with a little help from our Food Development Team. It may be behind the scenes but it’s one of the tastiest jobs in our business!
Working in this team means you have to know your onions from your shallots! The team work behind the scenes to ensure that the product sourcing, training and supply chain behind the operation means that the dishes they have dreamed up, then get delivered to happy guests in our pubs and restaurants across the country.
Daniel Wilkes, Senior Food Development Manager at Mitchells & Butlers, explains the process of making sure a dish is perfected before it makes it to a customer’s plate. “The team and I tend to work on a brief for a particular topic such as a summer menu for one of three brands that I work on; Toby Carvery, Harvester and Stonehouse Pizza & Carvery. Upon receiving the brief, we then work up a proposal and prepare initial ideas for the menu, with costings.”
Once that is completed, the team then spends time cooking, developing and refining these dishes, so they can be presented to the brand teams in a variety of food shows to gather feedback. Daniel explains that the dishes they create are often unique to the individual brand, “Working in our Food Team, we make sure that the dishes that get developed by our Development Chefs, reflect the brand, kitchen facilities and food skill levels of the team who will be serving up the dishes to our guests. I think it is really important to create unique dishes for our brands that you can’t get anywhere else, from the jerk ribs in Harvester to the miso rice bowl in All Bar One. Dishes like these showcase the chef’s skill and flair and can often become iconic dishes with our guests and teams.”
In addition to developing the menu items, the team looks for ways to tap into the latest dining and consumer trends and looking at ways to adopt them for each brand. “We regularly research trends and gather inspiration from all over, to try and understand the appropriate time for a flavour, trend or dish to land in our market.”
Daniel’s job involves constantly tweaking and improving dishes and subtly evolving each brand to keep pace with trends, but when a brand needs a complete refresh, Daniel and his team play a major part. “One of the most exciting projects I worked on recently was ‘Harvester 2020’. Our team worked tirelessly for a year, looking at every aspect of the dining experience starting with the menu, even researching bespoke crockery, glassware and uniforms. We worked together with the Harvester Team to build something really special that has moved the brand on tremendously.” Although not one to pick favourites, Daniel explains that he is very proud of one particular development, “I’m really proud of our new extensive ribs section that is on our main menu. We showcase regular ribs, large racks, 1kg smoked racks, half kilo beef ribs and my favourite, the jerk spiced ribs with spiced rum BBQ sauce!”
For Daniel, there is no better feeling than creating dishes that go on to become successful that chefs enjoy cooking and guests enjoy eating. However, it’s not just the Food Development Team that are at the steering wheel of the menus at Mitchells and Butlers, as we regularly host ‘takeover days’ for each of the pubs and restaurants, where our Retail Support Team can also have their say on the dishes they will be serving up to their guests.
And spending his work hours surrounded by food hasn’t put him off, in fact Daniel often experiences his dishes as a guest by visiting his local Stonehouse to treat his family to a pizza and sometimes may even indulge in his guilty pleasure - a midweek Toby Carvery roast!
** DEFAULT postresults.publishdate - en-GB **
So, the job search is on. Many people dread the process and see it as a race to the finish line where they’ll receive the prize of a job. While that should be your ultimate goal, there’s no sense in rushing it. Your CV is a great place to start and take time to figure out your core skills, which pub and restaurant job is right for you and which type of company you want to work for.As you write the perfect CV you need think about what the recruiter is looking for and what will cause them to sort you into the no pile. CVs should display a bit of your personality, but still be professional. So you know that cringe email you made when you were 10? Don’t use it!Here are some more dos and don’ts when writing your hospitality CV:DoInclude why you want to work in hospitalityAsk yourself why you want a hospitality job. Maybe salt bae inspired you or you recently found your flair for whipping up recipes at home. Perhaps you just love food. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t?Write a personal statementWrite a short paragraph at the top of your CV introducing who you are and what you can offer the company. Be clear and concise.Include KeywordsYour personal statement is the perfect place to sprinkle some keywords that the hiring manager is looking for. If you’re applying for a job in hospitality, interpersonal skills, knowledge of health and safety and quality assurance are a must. Look at the job description and pick out other keywords.Use the STAR approachRather than claiming to be, “An experienced bartender with a track record of quality customer service”, back up your claims. The STAR approach will help you reveal more about your experience and give the hiring manager concrete evidence of your skills.Explain gapsIf you have some time off between education and work where you did some casual catering work or went travelling, explain this on your CV. Simply leaving a gap might raise some eyebrows so it’s best to straighten it out and avoid any confusion.Shout about your achievementsPeople tend to play down their skills and achievements, at least around their friends and family, but there’s no time for that with hiring managers. You need to talk yourself up and shout about your proudest achievements. However, it’s important to remain humble because 65% of employers agree that they’re put off candidates who are arrogant.Don’tStuff it with buzzwordsWhy is stuffing your CV with buzzwords a no go? Because they can come across as unimaginative. You may be a great team player and second-to-none when it comes to problem-solving but simply writing those on your CV looks inauthentic. Back up popular buzzwords you use with the STAR approach and think about unique words that the hiring manager won’t have skimmed over hundreds of times.Include negatives If you’ve had a bad experience in a previous job or didn’t particularly enjoy the role you were in, keep the negativity out. Think about your CV as a ‘good vibes only’ space. Employers want to see what you learnt from previous jobs, not listen to you vent about what you didn’t like.Offer irrelevant informationSorry to break the news, but a recruiter doesn’t want to hear about your glory days as the egg and spoon champion in primary school, and probably won’t be too fazed that you know how to cook the perfect roast potato. Think of each line of your CV as "prime real estate" that should only be used for relevant skills and experience.LieEven if you have very little experience, lies should be avoided at all costs. They’ll come back to bite you in the end and who wants to get a job that they didn’t earn on their own merit anyway? If you have little or no experience working in a pub, restaurant or bar but really want to begin your career hospitality, think about your transferrable skills.Write a CV that leaves a lasting impression.Your CV needs to be original, attention-grabbing and leave the hiring manager wanting to learn more about you. If you follow these dos and don'ts when writing your hospitality CV, you’ll be sure to make a lasting impression.We’ve hit pause on our hiring at M&B for now but we can’t wait to start it back up. In the meantime, you can check out more of our blogs and read about top tips for managing your own wellbeing.
** DEFAULT postresults.publishdate - en-GB **
Crunchy, golden, fluffy. Yes, we’re talking about roast potatoes. And we like to think we know what we’re talking about when it comes to the perfectly roasted spud.According to 89% of the British public, roast potatoes are an essential trimming if you’re plating up the ideal roast dinner. These golden spuds blow all the other trimmings out the water, even Yorkshire puddings. Now it’s settled that a roast dinner isn’t complete without the potato, next we all need to agree on how to roast them to perfection. We’re going to share out top tips for how to cook the perfect roast potato that will leave your dinner guests with something to talk about… if you can bring yourself to share them out.Step 1 – Get things hot in the kitchenFirst things first, fire up that oven. Now, they say if you can’t stand the heat, get out the kitchen. But if you’re anything like Mohammed, who said cooking in a busy kitchen is the best part of a chef job, then that won’t be a problem. Start by setting the temperature to 200C or 180C for a fan oven. Step 2 – Peel and chopGrab your kilogram of potatoes and get prepping. Learning how to prep food is the first and most important thing any chef will learn to do. After all, prep work is the key to a chef’s success. Don’t be fooled into thinking a kitchen assistant is confined to slicing and dicing. No, they also learn how to chop julienne style, prepare meat and fillet fish – which, according to Paulo, was a highlight of his chef apprenticeship with M&B. Okay, back to the potatoes. Peel them and cut them into evenly sized pieces, around 5cm.Step 3 – Boil themGet those chopped potatoes into a large pan and add enough water so they’re just covered. You want to add cold water, otherwise, the outside will cook faster and we’re aiming for perfection here, remember. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and once the water has reached the boiling point, reduce it to a simmer and cook for another 2 minutes.Step 4 - Time to fluff it upOnce they’re out the water and left to cool for a few minutes, pop them back in the pan with a lid on and give them a rustle them around. You want to fluff up the outside of the potatoes but go gently or you’ll open the pan to mashed potatoes. Fluffing is an essential step. Miss it and we’re sorry to say you won’t come close to the crispy roasties that our chefs lovingly prepare at Toby Carvery. Finally, sprinkle in 2 tablespoons of plain flour and give it another little shake to coat them – this will help them get that delicious crunch.Step 5 – Into the ovenYour oven should be hot now, but for the potatoes to crisp up nicely you need to be popping them into piping hot oil or fat. Place the roasting tin in the oven with 5 tablespoons of goose fat, olive oil or butter and leave until it’s at maximum heat – around 3-5 minutes. If you’re a garlic fan (and let’s be honest, who isn’t?) here’s your moment. Mince 6 cloves and combine it with the oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, ½ teaspoon of pepper and 2 tablespoons of parsley or another herb.Carefully spoon the potatoes onto the pan and mix them so they’re coated in the hot fat. Leave them for 15 minutes, then turn them and roast for another 15 minutes. Flip them around once more and then back in they go for 10-20 minutes, until they’re goldened to your liking. Learn from the very best chefs at M&BLearning how to cook the perfect roast potato is surely a life skill that should be taught in school? Okay, maybe not quite but we do teach our chefs how to make these melt-in-your-mouth roast potatoes along with lots of other signature dishes and sides.If you’re interested in learning from the very best, you won’t find a place better than M&B. Every member of the kitchen team receives the training they need, whether that’s learning how to grill the perfect steak at Miller & Carter, toss pizza dough at Stonehouse Pizza & Carvery or plate up the perfect Sunday roast at Toby Carvery. Find out more about our chef apprenticeships at M&B.
Jobs you might be interested in...
We haven’t got any exact matches for your search at the moment, however try expanding your search location above or you might be interested in the following jobs…