How did you get where you are today?
I studied food technology and agricultural science at Nottingham University. After graduation I landed a job at United Biscuits working in the research and development department. I later moved to McCormick Herbs and Spices for a short period before joining Bakehouse in 1992, which at the time was run by just four people.
In 1997 I was approached by Tesco to work for its bakery team on the product development side of things. It was a fantastic opportunity and one which gave me an extensive experience of bakery and through which I was able to gain a real technological expertise.
A few years later another opportunity arose at Bakehouse, which at the time was busy establishing the bread side of its business, so I rejoined as category director on bread. Another couple of years later we consolidated, and took product development to a much larger scale. I was promoted to technical director and have now just taken on the role of development director, managing a team of five.
Have you always wanted to work in this sector?
I have always had a keen interest in biology and cookery, and food technology was my favourite subject at school so I suppose so. Bakery is not a pure science and that's what makes it such a fascinating sector. I don't have so much time to cook now as I used to, but I love visiting restaurants to see and taste all the new trends.
Tell us a bit about Bakehouse
The company was founded by Chris Smail in 1989 with the aim of "making exclusive food inclusive". We produce a wide range of ready to bake Danish pastries, continental patisserie, savouries and speciality breads and are now the UK's leading supplier and innovator of continental bake-off products. All of our products are manufactured in purpose built bakeries in Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Germany, France and Portugal.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Seeing the company grow and helping people on the team develop their skills and potential are the best bits. Believe it or not, I also get a real kick out of the hectic lifestyle. While the job requires me to work reasonably long hours, no two days are ever the same, and I spend a large amount of my time travelling. Next year is set to be particularly exciting year. There is lots on the go as we are developing our range of sweet and savoury breads.