Chris is the Team Kitchen Manager at the Terrace Restaurant on the Highfield Campus and is one of seven chefs working at various catering venues at the University. A typical day in his working life begins with putting on the soup, cutting the joints, making pasta and pies.
Team Kitchen Manager - Catering Services
The chefs are busy during evenings and weekends throughout the year, as the work does not just involve daily meals for staff and students. A whole range of events keep the University’s Catering Services busy including weddings, craft shows, barbecues, Christmas parties, Council events and gala dinners.
The work has changed over the 10 years since Chris joined the University as an assistant chef at the Piazza Restaurant.
‘The kitchens have become a lot busier and the menus have become healthier with a wider range offered, including international, vegetarian and vegan, and pasta dishes as well as soups, salads and sweets,’ Chris explains.
Chris’ parents came to Southampton from Jamaica in the 1960s. He is the youngest of eight children and trained as a chef at the Southampton Technical College. Even though there may be evening and weekend work, the hours still allow time to enjoy life outside of work. Chris is a keen footballer and competes regularly at a local club, enjoys socialising with friends, and family life. He has two daughters, aged three and five, but many family members live in Jamaica. ‘I have brothers, sisters and cousins in Jamaica,’ says Chris. ‘Christmas in shorts on the beach is great, but Southampton feels like home to me. There are too many people I would miss here to think about moving permanently to the warmer weather.’
The chefs in Catering Services rotate around the different kitchens on campus: the Blue Room, Terrace, Piazza, Boldrewood, Avenue, Hospitality, and the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton. Chris’ next assignment will be working with chefs in the Halls of Residence to introduce and expand new menus.
‘Being able to work in different kitchens makes a nice change. I enjoy working with other chefs and like training new people. I am also looking forward to the opening of a new conference and banqueting unit in the next year or so. The different types of catering help build my knowledge and skills as well as those of others around me,’ says Chris.
‘Some of the best parts of my job are the comments from customers. When we receive a letter commending our efforts it gets put on the bulletin board for everyone to share. It is nice to get that praise and appreciation for good work,’ says Chris. ‘Catering Services aims to provide an excellent service, and we do listen to people’s suggestions.’
Chris is also pleased when people recognise and praise him outside of work. ‘Most people see and taste what you produce, but they do not always know who produces it,’ he concludes.