When did you realise you wanted to work in hospitality?
It was actually from a very young age. My mother and uncle ran a catering company so I grew up around catering vans and chefs. My first job was sitting behind a craft table (barely able to see over the top) peeling carrots. It sounds mad but I loved it. Ever since then I have had the desire to get into the industry and succeed like them.
Where and how did you get your start?
I was very fortunate to get the opportunity to be mentored by some of the greats in the industry from an early age. Taking this knowledge I worked as a consultant (following a long stint in the world of advertising) for a number of hospitality brands focusing mainly on building their long term business strategies. This enabled me to get a real insight into the inner workings of the operational side of the business and allowed me to launch The Court at an age earlier than might otherwise have been the case.
Sum up your current work life in one sentence.
Who has been really influential on your career and why?
Chris Corbin has always been an inspiration to me. The way he can manage such an empire and yet still makes every single customer feel truly valued is something to behold. Of course Ian Schrager to an extent also informs what we do. He created an atmosphere in which people of all backgrounds could enjoy each others company without a second thought. Sadly I feel this is something that is slightly lacking in the market these days (well until now).
What’s next for you?
More of the same. I just want to ensure each and every night at The Court is spectacular. Once that is done we may or may not be looking to a few exciting opportunities overseas for our members.
What’s your one piece of advice to someone starting out?
You have to make sure you always have a plan B and C because almost nothing goes as you expect in this industry. However, you must make sure that you still let yourself love every minute of it. If you have the right team around you there is no reason you can’t overcome each and every problem you face.
Where did you last have a great meal?
It sounds obvious but Restaurant Story. Each and every time I go there Tom has created something new and exceptional. Every visit is a new experience.
Are there any openings you are looking forward to?
It’s an odd one but The Sea, The Sea sounds fantastic. A fishmonger where you can grab a glass of champagne whilst you wait is a bit of a dream for me.
Where is the most exciting city for hospitality?
I think it would be hard for anyone to make a case against London. Paris has to be in the mix but we live in the most cosmopolitan city in the world. It’s the epicentre of creativity and you see the proof of that constantly with something new and incredible opening each and every day.
Who would you identify as a rising star?
I’m just someone who likes to make people happy. I think, if you asked the team at The Court, I’m more a jester than a star.