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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.

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. 

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. 

Tracy Mole

Tracy always knew she wanted to be a chef. After leaving school she went straight into a City & Guilds BTEC in Hotel, Hospitality and Finance Management. From there, she honed her skills in restaurants and pubs — eventually starting her own business doing the catering for an indoor sports facility. Tracy joined Eurest in 2003, after being drawn to us through a shared love of great food and great service.

Having worked her way up, Tracy is now an Aviation Group Executive Chef — a job she loves. In the role, Tracy gets into the minds of her customers, and uses that insight to develop the foods they want. Helping her bring her culinary vision to life are her team of two Aviation Development Chefs and eight Head Chefs. On top of that, Tracy oversees the Junior Apprentice Programme, helping to progress future talent within the industry.

Nowadays, Tracy is an integral part of the Eurest team. She’s driven, motivated and committed — bringing innovation and creativity to the food she creates. Asked what her favourite saying was, she said: “Life is short, so eat dessert first.” We can’t argue with that.

Charlotte Jones

Charlotte first joined Compass as a Customer Service Assistant (CSA) when she was just 16 years old, and soon got ambitions to start working in the kitchen. After just 18 months, she worked her way into a role as trainee chef and began the process of improving her knowledge and skills through working in the kitchen and studying for NVQs.

The hard work paid off. At 22, Charlotte successfully applied for an opportunity as Head Chef. In her role, Charlotte trials recipes and creates new concepts within Compass — and has been an integral part of the trial sites for My Menu.

Charlotte is now training and developing a sous-chef — who also started as a CSA. With her drive, ambition, experience and talent — the future is certainly bright for this young chef. 

We think Charlotte is a great example of why it’s worth investing in young people, and working with them to achieve their full potential.