Name: Rupert Avery
Job title: Senior market manager
Company & location: Kerb London, Shoreditch
Education: Bartholomew school – never went to university or college
Why did you decide to go for a career in food? I’ve always had a passion for food and every job that surrounds it, so it seemed only natural to follow a career in the industry. I fell in love with street food when I was a child going to Borough Market and other food areas around London. I’ve always worked in hospitality ever since I was old enough to work, which was 14 years old.
Explain your job to us in a sentence (or two): My day to day job is running and managing Kerb’s West India Quay Market in Canary Wharf. I manage the traders when loading in and out of the market so that we are ready in time for our busy lunch service. I’m also involved in the InKerbator program which helps to find London’s best street food talent and accelerate new food businesses.
What does a typical day look like for you? On a typical day you’ll find me on the market making sure everything runs seamlessly and safely. We conduct H&S checks each day on each trader to ensure they are operating to a very high standard. You will also see me eating as much street food as I can!
“I fell in love with street food when I was a child going to Borough Market”
Tell us about how you went about applying for your job. I first saw a job advertised in February 2018 for a ‘part-time market manager’ position, so I applied but didn’t get the job. I carried on working on my own business, @dosmas_food, and in July of that year I applied to get onto Kerb’s food market as a street food trader in my own right. The same position was then advertised again and being part-time, I felt it could work around me and my food stall at the time.
I immediately reapplied as I felt it would be an invaluable source of knowledge and insight into street food trading, and I would be able to learn the correct skills for running my own street food business. I also wanted to be part of a company about which I had had heard great things and how friendly the MD was. I was offered to work on Kerb’s first ever market in King’s Cross, which I loved running. I was then offered a senior position as a market manager and went on to run West India Quay market.
There were two interview stages. The first took place with Sophie in HR and my current line manager Theo, head of markets. The second interview was with head of development Ollie and brand director Ian Dodds. I found both interviews very different with very different questions. Sophie and Theo were more interested in finding out what type of person I am and how I fitted with the job description. They explained various scenarios of day to day issues you can find on a market, and if I’d be able to work under pressure and how I’d be pro-active and intuitive. They wanted me to give examples of where I had been forthright and people-centric. They also asked questions about my venture as a street food trader and how I found it. I mentioned that being a street food trader had taught me the day to day affairs of a market and given me insight into what I thought makes a successful food market. I also mentioned that having a market manager that understands street food and the hard work behind it from a trader’s point of view would be of great value to the company.
“Treat every day as if you are a beginner so that you are constantly learning and developing your skills”
What’s the best part about working for a food company? Tasting mainly! And being able to eat street food on a daily basis. I feel very spoilt that I am able to try some of the best street food London has to offer and possibly discovering the next “big thing” in the street food industry!
And what’s the biggest misconception people have about working in food & drink? I think hospitality tends to have a bad reputation in general. A lot of people see it negatively, but I see it as such an amazing industry with endless possibilities.
What advice would you give to other young people looking to get into the food & drink industry? Work hard and treat every day as if you are a beginner so that you are constantly learning and developing your skills. No one has ever moved forward standing still, so be bold and show initiative.
What’s your ultimate career dream? My ultimate career dream is to have a job I love so much that I feel I never have to work a day in my life. I’ve always been drawn to having my own food business either as a counter service restaurant or an actual restaurant, and that has always been a goal of mine. I would also love to teach and help more people succeed by creating a successful business myself.