Hot Shots: The latest two pub trade rising stars

By Mike Berry

- Last updated on GMT

Hot Shots: The latest two pub trade rising stars

Related tags Young people Chef Sous chef Commis chef

Hot Shots is the Publican’s Morning Advertiser’s new initiative to recognise young and upcoming individuals working in the trade; from those running pubs to business ops specialists. Here we profile two more people nominated as rising stars.

Gordon Stott, head chef and licensee at the Sun Inn, Dummer, Hampshire

Gordon Stott

How did you end up in the trade?

At the age of 18 I started out as a commis chef at a two Michelin-star restaurant before joining a gastropub where I quickly progressed to chef de partie. I later worked as a sous chef. In 2012, I became the chef and landlord here. I was 20 at the time.

What’s your biggest challenge?

Keeping up with it all and keeping it consistent. It’s getting really busy.

Why do you like working in the industry?

The pressure, the hours, the stress — I love it all. I really thrive under pressure.

What’s your career highlight?

Being a seven-time awards finalist in national, regional and local competitions. Last year, these included Young Businessman of the Year, Hampshire Life Food and Drink Awards ‘chef of the year’ and the Craft Guild of Chefs ‘pub restaurant chef’.

How do you feel you’ve made a positive difference to your role?

I like hiring young people and training them, especially those who want to work in the sector but have no experience. I like to nurture them and provide on-the-job training. Also, I cleared the pub’s debt within a year and a half of taking over.

Why should people consider the trade as a career?

The long hours and hard work are not for everyone but if you like hospitality then you will love it. The best thing is to start young.

How bright is the future for the trade?

It’s going to be hard in the short term, especially with the new national living wage, plus there’s a major chef shortage in the UK. I think a lot of young people are put off by the long hours they work.

Are you a Hot Shot?

  • Do you run your own successful pub?
  • Or work for a pubco or supplier to the trade?
  • Aged 30 or under?
  • Looking to boost your profile and career?

Email for details on how to get involved in the initiative

Chloe Johnson, acting general manager, the Spread Eagle, Romiley, Greater Manchester

Chloe Johnson

How did you end up in the trade?

When I was 15, my mum told me to get a part-time job so I started as a pot washer. I’ve also worked as a waitress, in the kitchen, as a bar supervisor and now acting general manager.

What do you like about working in pubs?

Despite the hours, you also get a social life. Running a pub has a very family and community feel to it. It’s not like a job.

What’s the biggest challenge in your role?

At first I found managing people who are older than me quite difficult. You don’t want to sound patronising or condescending or tell people who have had a lot more life experience how to do their job.

How do you feel you’ve made a positive difference?

I came here six months ago and have increased wet sales year-on-year by 6%. When the pub was taken over we lost a lot of customers. My job was to try to get them back. I’ve done that mainly by working the bar every night and chatting to customers.

What’s the best advice you’ve received?

Do what makes you happy; the words of my boss and my mum.

What are you most proud of?

Setting up a new EPoS till system within the Almond Pubs group so managers can do their own stocktakes. Previously this was done externally. I worked with our till supplier before spending a couple of months setting the system up at head office.

How can the trade attract young people?

There are so many opportunities for growth within the hospitality industry. This needs promoting. If you’re bright and bubbly, you’re going to do well in the pub trade and have a lot of fun doing it.

How bright is the future for the trade?

Very bright — everyone wants and uses pubs and restaurants. I don’t think they’re going anywhere too soon as long as we’re doing the right things for customers.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I’ve been with Almond eight years and I’d love to stay with them. Hopefully, I will progress to a role where I can maybe help train new staff.

Book today for the new Pub Skills Summit

The Pub Skills Summit​ is a new event focused on the outstanding training and people development work in the sector. Find out more and book your ticket today at

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