Beth Tennison, chef, Saltend Chemicals Park
Joined Sodexo: February 2014
Lives in: Hull
Q. Tell us about your Sodexo role and what you do every day?
A. I start work at 7am. My first job is to check how many guests we’ve had staying overnight and how many will be attending meetings that morning. I then get straight onto making breakfast plus bacon sandwiches for the meetings.
On an average day, we’ll cater for around 14-15 people for breakfast and lunch, though sometimes it’s as many as 40. Once breakfast is finished, it’s a quick clean up and onto lunch preparation.
After lunch, I prepare afternoon teas. Steve Wilkinson, Lambert House chef, then comes in to start on evening meals and I’ll see what he needs help with. I finish at 3.30pm but sometimes come back in the evenings to get more experience of serving dinner.
Q. What is your background?
A. I’m still learning on the job, having worked in the food industry for just over a year. I studied animal care before deciding it wasn’t for me.
Q. What do you think of your development in Sodexo?
A. I started in the restaurant on site at Saltend, and was soon put forward for Sodexo’s annual culinary awards, Salon Culinaire, by John Marshall, our general services manager. I then moved to Lambert House to learn more about fine dining in preparation for the awards, which were held in October last year. I ended up coming third in the Young Chef of the Year category from hundreds of candidates nationwide.
Q. What sort of feedback to you get from customers?
A: I’ve had great feedback from guests. Many remember what I’ve made them on previous visits and ask for the same thing again, which is a big compliment and one of the best parts of a job that I really love.
Q. Do you get unusual requests for meals?
A. There isn’t always an evening menu so guests can order what they want. We have an American guest who always requests a main dish containing tinned mixed beans, followed by Cadbury’s Crème Eggs with ice cream!
Q. Is catering for a diverse guest profile a challenge?
A. I like to make different dishes to mix things up and we often have themed days – Italian, Indian and so on. As we have guests from all over the world it can be interesting to find out about cultural preferences too – I’ve fired my wok up at 7am for guests who want vegetables and noodles for breakfast. It certainly makes a change to bacon and eggs.
Q. How would you like your career to develop?
A. I’ve learnt so much from Steve; he’s given up his own time to help me progress. I finished my apprenticeship in July and will continue on this career path. The team here are all brilliant.
Q. What do you do outside work?
A. I love to cook and bake outside of work too. I’m very close to my friends and family and spend a lot of time with them. My dad is a keen cook – I think I know who I take after.