Hot shots

Hot shots: Two rising pub trade stars

By Mike Berry

- Last updated on GMT

Hot shots: Two rising pub trade stars

Related tags: Chef, Sous chef

We profile a chef and a cocktail specialist for our latest spotlight on the rising stars of the trade.

Nick Whitby, head of bars at New World Trading Company (NWTC)

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How did you end up in your current role?

I started off as a bartender with NWTC. I was 23 and the plan was to work for a year, save up and go travelling, but I ended up falling completely in love with the job. Within a couple of months I was a head bartender. I've since helped with VIP launch nights at a number of venues, been a bar trainer and now I'm head of bars.

Are you a hot shot?

■ Do you run your own successful pub?
■ Or do you work for a pubco or supplier and are making a positive difference?
■ Aged 30 or under?
■ Looking to boost your profile and career?

Email for more details on how to get involved

Why do you like working in the industry?

What sold it to me initially was being able to chat up girls as well as talking to groups of guys! It was a barrel of laughs, but then I started getting exposed to more of the training and operational side. I've always had a bit of an interest in interior design, especially the aesthetics and ergonomics of bars.

What's your career highlight to date?

I redesigned the Botanist's (a NWTC brand) cocktail menu. I've gone quite bold and there's more of a focus on the botanical and herbal elements.

What's the best bit of advice you've ever received?

That no one going for a senior position ever feels 100% ready for the next step.

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

Relating to and understanding people. When I came in, I think our training style was a little harsher than it needed to be. You need to get people to buy into what you're doing before you ask them to do something.

Why should people consider the trade as a career choice?

I honestly believe, like national service, people should do six months in hospitality. It completely builds you. I once watched this 17-year-old lad come out of his shell within two months. To watch that development is fantastic. You can express yourself in a number of ways - through what you wear, a cocktail menu, how you train someone or how you lead a team.

Where do you see yourself in five years' time?

The way this company is going and the way my career has gone previously, onwards and upwards.

Mikey Clarke, head chef at Puss In Boots, Stockport, Almond Pub Group

Mikey Clarke

How did you end up in your current role?

Since the age of 16 I've worked in the kitchens of various pubs and restaurants. I enjoy the fast-paced environment. I've been a sous chef and head chef at other pubs.

What do you like about working in the trade?

Every day is a challenge, but I enjoy it. I like the banter and the regulars coming back all the time saying how much they enjoy the food. My passion has always been cooking. I enjoy creating different flavours and textures.

What's been the highlight of your career?

Catering for events - we've had 200 people here before. We've done quite a few weddings. The highlight of the job is seeing people happy when they're leaving - that's the main thing.

What's the best bit of advice you've received?

Stay calm. If you panic, that's when everything starts to go downhill. The first head chef I worked for told me this and that's what has kept me going. Also, to be patient and not push people too far or expect too much from them straight away.

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

I enjoy developing people, nothing is more satisfying than sharing my skills and seeing our team grow.

What do your friends and family say when you tell them you work in a pub kitchen?

They're quite proud of me.

Where do you see yourself in five years' time?

Hopefully running my own business.

Why should people consider the trade as a career choice?

It's friendly, fast-paced, you meet new people all the time time and can learn a lot.

How bright is the future for the trade?

The future is bright, but the experiences, training and qualifications people can get from the trade need to be better advertised.

Related topics: Training

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