The ‘King’s Lynn boy’ has been involved in the hospitality industry from a young age, starting off by selling ice cream at Searles Leisure Resort in Hunstanton; working his way up to front of house at The Ffolkes at Hillington; moving on to The Crown Inn at Gayton before becoming manager at The Dabbling Duck in Great Massingham.
‘Hospitality was something I fell into’, says Tim, 37, who had initially wanted to be a physiotherapist. However, by his mid-20s he got the wanderlust: ‘I wanted to leave Norfolk and explore the world; take a year out and go travelling. I went to Asia and did the whole backpacking thing; then Australia, New Zealand and North America.’
In Asia, the food left a deep impression on him – even the modest chicken and rice dish he picked up for next to nothing at a roadside stall in Borneo. He even took classes out in Thailand to learn more about the cuisine. ‘What I wanted to bring back from that was how to make dishes authentically and not just out of a jar or a packet.’
Whereas in Australia he was particularly impressed by the high standards of food service. Whilst there he worked on a dive boat on the Great Barrier Reef; a ‘little café’ in Sydney Harbour where one chef did ‘incredible’ things single-handedly with the help of three ovens, and a fine dining hotel on the West Coast. On boat trips, they’d take a fishing rod and catch fish that would go straight on the barbie. ‘I don’t think I’d experienced fish as fresh as that,’ he says. Finally, in North America, he immersed himself in the coffee culture and developed a real taste for the beverage for the first time.
Tim returned from his travels in 2009 and started working at the College of West Anglia in King’s Lynn, realising that his role to play in hospitality was ‘trying to encourage young people to have passion and drive for the industry.’
He has been a lecturer at City College Norwich since 2011, and his travels have certainly influenced his style of teaching. Whilst flying the flag for living and working in Norfolk, he also encourages students to travel the world.
‘I always reflect on my experiences with the students,’ says Tim, ‘and always try to encourage them to experience new things.’
- This month sees the start of themed dinners organised by the Level 3 Hospitality Supervision and Leadership group. The theme is dining through the decades – from the 1920s to 1999 – and the first one takes place on February 13.