What was your big break into the industry?

The impact of my decision to fund and attend Leith’s School of Food and Wine in London following five years’ service with the NHS. I decided to widen and enhance my career options by funding the Leith’s Diploma with the pension contributions which are frozen after 5 years of NHS service. It was one of the best decisions I have made and opened new opportunities enabling me to travel and work in other countries and gave me a vast experience in the food and drink sector.

What was your light bulb moment?

When I returned to Wales and discovered how many wonderful products were been produced in Wales. I realized that there was a great opportunity to market and promote these products globally which led me to set up my own company providing a wide range of specialist services to the food and drink Industries.

How did you find your passion in this industry?

I come from a family of farmers which ingrained in me a passion for seasonal local food. I spent all the school holidays helping on the family farm from working on the land, feeding stock to preparing and cooking homemade meals using produce grown on the farm. This shaped and inspired my passion for quality local food and drink.

Let us know your background in the food and drink sector?

With a Hospitality Management qualification my career began in the public service before moving to the private sector working in restaurants in London and overseas then a large Corporate catering organization in the South East. I moved to Wales 25 years ago when I began to work as a freelance TV cook and started promoting Welsh food and drink with the WDA and Welsh Government through initiatives such as the Wales the True Taste awards which was instrumental in putting Welsh food on the global map!

What key advice would you give to a company entering the awards?

From my experience as a judge on the Wales the True Taste Awards I think the most important part is sharing the story showing your passion, commitment and authenticity.

What’s the hardest thing about business?

Spinning plates! Keeping an eye on all aspects of the business especially when you’re under pressure. It really dependents so much on the nature of the business even though some are common  to all businesses.

What future challenges do you see for Welsh food and drink businesses?

A recent study identified two key challenges. Skills and labour shortages and climate and nature changes were identified as two most important challenges. I would add to that the need to understand the role of the food system in our future world.

What’s one piece of advice you wish you had been given when starting in the food and drink industry?

Make sure you understand all governance requirements checking you comply with the rules and regulations which are forever changing!

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