Corporate Catering Services/ Translink Enterprise
Richard has worked his way up the ladder from dishwasher through to trainee chef. He completed formal training in Larne College before joining the Corporate Catering Services/Translink Enterprise team in 1997.
What does your role involve?
Each day I ensure I have everything I require for the menu, which involves rigorously checking the ingredients are of the best quality. I also ensure the working environment is clean, hygienic and with everything in working order before each service.
I am responsible for serving all meals in a timely manner and to the high Enterprise standard both on 1st Plus and Enterprise class. We always endeavour to cater to customers’ special requests which add value to the service we deliver. Further, my role involves customer interaction with passengers on the Translink Enterprise service which I thoroughly enjoy.
How did you get into the position in the first place?
I literally worked my way up the ladder from dishwasher through to trainee chef. I then completed formal training in Larne College, while I continued to work full time and became a qualified chef. I joined the Corporate Catering Services/Translink Enterprise team in September 1997 and haven’t looked back since.
Did you always want to work in this sector in some capacity?
My entry into the catering world started at the central point in any kitchen – the sink! I started as a dishwasher and worked in this job for four years at the start of my career. I have continued to work my way up through the ranks over the past 23 years as a chef.
What training or previous experience do you have that has helped you in your current role?
I have worked in several hotels throughout my career and cooked alongside many great chefs, learning a lot from each experience. I have also completed the City & Guilds 706/1, Health & Safety, Manual Handling and COSSH courses – all extremely important, practical and helpful in this line of work.
What is your organisation's role in the local community?
Translink, as Northern Ireland’s public transport provider, is very much at the heart of the local community - delivering around 78 million passenger journeys per year. The Translink Enterprise service provides a cross-border service to Dublin for local people including commuters and leisure travellers on a daily basis.
And how does your role fit in as part of this?
As a chef, providing a value added service to passengers on Enterprise, we try to develop exciting menus using as much local produce as possible to ensure we are supporting local suppliers and the economy. My role is to enhance our passengers’ experience as they travel on Enterprise.
What sort of personality and qualities do you need to do your job successfully?
I have a passion for food and also I care about the customer and their experience - in this case, the Enterprise passengers. Both these passions go hand in hand in the food industry. I pride myself on high standards and presentation; I work hard and love to be part of a team. I have to be flexible in my current role as catering on a train is different to working in a restaurant or hotel – the latter are not moving as you cook!
What are the biggest rewards of the job?
I know what is expected of me, I do my job well and I am completely trusted to get on with the job in hand – I think this shows respect from my employers too - which is a real reward.
And the biggest challenges?
The need for organisation is paramount I always ensure I have everything I need for the service before we pull away from the station.
What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
When I was working in one of my first jobs my Head Chef at the time taught me about the importance of ‘attention to detail’ in hospitality and this has stayed with me throughout my career.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to do the same job?
Work hard, be patient and always think ahead.
What do you enjoy doing outside work?
I enjoy fishing when I get some time and I also enjoy a good book. Figure painting is another love but it takes a long time to do…I think that’s the perfectionist in me!