Getting an insight to the action behind the scenes of a fashion show, television programme or the latest blockbuster, can pique the interest of most people, especially (as my daughter tells me) in these days of Instagram when #BTS (behind the scenes) is regularly trending. It has got me thinking this month about the BTS of Jarrold Food and Drink.
You may think that behind the scenes our kitchens are busy, loud and sometimes relentlessly hectic – and you would be right to a certain extent. For me, a typical day starts at 7.30am with a cup of Jarrold blend coffee, a check of emails and rotas for lateness and sickness (a team of 42) and then a walk around the kitchens to make sure that the night porters have done a good job with the cleaning and that they are ready for the day.
By 8.30am the deliveries start to arrive and I check the freshness and quality of food coming in, along with the invoices and prices agreed. By 9.30am I walk around each restaurant and go through the daily specials with the lead chef to make sure they have everything they need for the day. At 10.30am I tend to have an appointment with a new or existing supplier. To make the business work, price is key, but so is quality. We work with many local producers and suppliers to cut down food miles – and, of course, locally produced ingredients taste so much better!
Lunch starts at 11.45am and this is the busiest time for our restaurants. Steve (my sous chef) and I run the pass at either Benji’s or The Exchange to make sure whatever dish goes out to the customer is the best it can be.
Then between 1.30pm and 2pm, I walk around the restaurants again to find out how many covers they have done so far and to solve any issues. At 2pm our new baker begins his shift, so I make sure he has everything he needs to bake the breads that are served in our restaurants and are available to buy in The Deli. Two or three times a week I also head down to the Refectory at Norwich Cathedral to check that they have everything they need and that service is running smoothly.
By 3pm I collapse! No, I tend to be in my office checking through the team’s orders or I’m in another meeting or I do paperwork such as invoices, costings or working on new menus, until around 5pmish.
We do host many evening events throughout the year, but this is a story for another day.
This is just a typical day. My job also means that I get to take some of my team to London every so often so that I can keep up with food and drink trends. We also go to trade shows and we regularly visit our producers and suppliers, which develops the team’s knowledge – now that would make a good #BTS!