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Our Chefs - Skills

OUR CHEFS

Did we tell you how much we love our chefs? Our chefs are the backbone of our business and responsible for where we are today. Without them, we wouldn’t be the UK’s leading foodservices provider - we wouldn’t be the Eurest that we are today.

Our chefs have an unrelenting ‘above and beyond’ love of food – a passion for providing the best, for the best, fully equipped with strong personalities and a great sense of humour (most of the time!) – and that is what sets them and our business apart.

Our chefs cook each and every day, providing a little theatre and education, wherever and whenever they can, and every dish is always served with that special little sprinkle of Eurest ‘je ne sais quoi’

MEET OUR EXECUTIVE CHEFS
SUPPORTING THE BUSINESS AND REGIONS

James Larkins

James Larkins’ Eurest career journey began as a sous chef, working in a large B&I head office team. And over a four-year period, he took every opportunity to hone his talent and flair for innovation by progressing through a variety of roles and acquiring new skills as he went.

Following a break from Eurest, working at a variety of locations, including a top independent hotel (where James won three golden rosettes), the Leander Rowing Club in Henley-upon-Thames and a spell for the competition, James returned to Eurest three years ago to head up an aviation welfare and innovation site, before taking on the role of Regional Executive Chef for London and South East. 

If there are a few words to describe James, it would be ‘driven’ and ‘motivated by excellence’, coupled with a zest for trying new foods and ways of preparing them; he has an out-and-out conviction that good leadership and team mentoring is critical to individual development and personal fulfilment.

Setting aside the obvious need to understand the business, its culture and its people, and delivering great food, James firmly believes that you have to do two things really well; be prepared to try and do things differently, and to support, coach and lead your people and your team every step of the way. The latter is aptly demonstrated; one of his team recently won the gold award at the 2012 Compass Chef of the year awards.

Jason Trotman

Jason joined Compass Group UK & Ireland in 2004 as Executive Chef, providing hospitality to 2,000 employees on-site for one of our clients, a large telecommunications company. In 2010, he joined Compass’s Business Excellence division as a Development Chef and was involved in delivering sales presentations and mobilising new contract wins. After a successful two years with Business Excellence, Jason became Group Executive Chef, looking after the food operation in fifteen sites across the UK, for a large energy company.

It was during this time that Jason joined the Compass culinary team, winning gold and silver at the Birmingham Hospitality Show and Hotelympia. In 2012, Jason competed at the Culinary Olympics in Erfurt Germany, winning a silver medal; in 2013 he was a finalist in the Senior Chef of the Year competition; and in 2014, Jason was asked to join the English Culinary team at Hotelympia, going on to gain a silver medal in the Team Buffet class. Competing again in 2016 as part of the Compass buffet team, he gained another silver medal.

In 2015 Jason became Executive Chef for the National Channel within Eurest. As part of this role, Jason is passionate about motivating chef teams to deliver fantastic and consistent food across the Eurest business. And he’s proud to lead a National Chef’s forum, creating a network that promotes talent and innovation across all of Eurest.

Michael King

Michael’s Eurest career began in Brighton in 2010 in a chef manager role. After a couple of years he took a sabbatical to explore the world (and its cuisine) before returning to Brighton to take up a temporary head chef position. Building on this experience Michael sampled other roles — development chef and a permanent head chef position — before settling into his current group executive chef post in early 2014.

Michael’s love of cooking started young. He began his kitchen life at 16 working in a variety of hotels and restaurants, and topping it all off with cooking for the royal family, senior politicians and VIPs on the sports event circuit. He also managed to find time to gain his formal qualifications and to do four seasons as a private chef for an exclusive chalet company. 

Driven and determined by his own admission, Michael is a results-orientated chef who is always willing to help others and Eurest in general. These days he can be found overseeing the food offering and innovation for 15 sites nationwide, cooking at high-profile functions, pitching in at company strategy events, and helping roll out new systems company-wide. He’s always on the go but wouldn’t change it for the world.

Michael has recently started taking part in culinary competitions, picking up a bronze award for Salon Culinaire at The Hospitality Show 2015. He’s keen to do more to showcase his love of sustainable seafood and has his sights set on representing Compass at the next Culinary World Cup. 

Alan Pack

Alan joined Compass in 1999 as Executive Chef, working on a contract covering three sites and over 1,500 employees — the beginning of a long and successful career with the company. 

After two years in this role, Alan began to take on a diverse array of responsibilities within the business. These showcased his talent for kitchen and restaurant design, presenting to clients, preparing tenders, and establishing pilot sites for Centres for Excellence (including developing all aspects of the catering and hospitality). 

Drawing on the experience he has gained within Compass, Alan currently works as the Group Executive Chef for a large retailer, overseeing 41 sites across the UK. 

Andy Blake

Prior to joining Compass as Senior Head Chef in 2004, Andy worked in a number of Michelin-starred restaurants, and even cooked for the Queen.

At Compass, Andy was initially responsible for five outlets, catering for more than 2,000 customers each day. After two years, he developed the food offer for a brand new site, creating fresh menus and establishing high standards among his team of chefs.

A Eurest Source Champion, he soon earned promotion to his current role, and now oversees a number of regional contracts.  

Kamil Malec

Kamil gained his qualifications and exceptionally high culinary standards while working as a commis chef for Compass Group at a large financial institution.

From there, Kamil moved into the wider world of gastronomy, including Michelin-star restaurants, where he honed his ability to create quality cuisine. After a few years, Kamil re-joined Compass as a sous chef before earning promotions to Head Chef, Executive Chef and the Business Excellence Team.

Kamil’s current role involves the establishment of new food concepts and working with his team to deliver high standards across more than 38 sites. 

Kevin Wicks 

A Compass Chef of the Year finalist on three occasions, Kevin’s 20 years with Compass showcase his talent and diverse culinary abilities.

After joining a large industrial contract as Head Chef, a promotion to Senior Chef allowed Kevin to work on group menu building, group innovation and new service offers.

Currently Head Chef for a high-volume global contract, he continues to pursue excellence in menu planning, site assistance and the day-to-day running of this large-scale operation. 

Mark Nozari

His restauranteur father meant Mark grew up surrounded by food. You could say this career began as a child, working in his family’s Persian and French restaurants during the summer holidays.

Passionate about seasonal, simple, carefully prepared and beautifully presented food, Mark has worked as an Executive Chef, Food Development Manager, Group Chef and Development Chef, as well as setting up and running two restaurants of his own.

Bringing with him a wealth of experience and talent, Mark joined Quadrant as Executive Chef in 2015. As part of this role, he’s passionate about imparting his knowledge and passion for food, helping his teams to prepare delicious and innovative dishes.

Nicholas Harry

Nicholas began his career in the kitchens of prestigious hotels and catering for prominent events. His notable achievements include catering for Royal Garden Parties at Buckingham Palace.

Joining Compass as Head Chef of Kents Hill Park in 2015, Nicholas brought experience of fine dining and large-scale catering to his new role. He immediately reinvigorated the conference centre’s menus and created a dining experience featuring innovative food combinations and sensational flavours.

Nicholas was recently named Champion Chef at the Conference Centres of Excellence Chefs’ Challenge, a title reflected by the great cuisine he produces in his role as Head Chef.

Stuart Fildes

A love of travel and eating out inspired Stuart to become a chef, and he joined Compass in 2003 as a chef de partie in numerous sites across London.

After his promotion to sous chef, Stuart took on the responsibility of opening a new head office at a major London Airport. Here he was promoted to Head Chef and made the site a Eurest Centre for Excellence. After holding this title for three years, he moved into one of Eurest’s most prestigious sites within a luxury department store.

As part of his current role, Stuart caters for up to 7,000 staff members every day, running six kitchen concepts within a vast food-court-style environment.