UCB alumni Robert makes small food business prosper

December 2015

MA Culinary Arts Management alumni Robert Popham is set for success as a technical manager and development chef, and speaks to us about his time at university, his career and how UCB helped him find his place within the food industry. 

“I chose UCB because a member of my family, who works in the food manufacturing industry, knew of the university and its high standards of teaching and state-of-the-art cooking facilities. 

“During my course, I was impressed with the wide range of subjects, covering product design and food development through to restaurant management and human resources. UCB excels at combining theory with practical within their courses and this has really contributed to my professional success within the food industry. 

“I am currently Technical Manager & Development Chef at Everest Ices Ltd & Chocolate Treats. My responsibilities include co-ordinating the teams in brand and business developments, chairing meetings, setting business objectives and delegating tasks to team members. This also includes the development, building and testing of two business websites and providing technical and food development advice to business partners and customers. 

“As a small company, Everest Ices Ltd has struggled to grow. However, in the past two-and-a-half years I have been able to implement key changes to the business which have boosted sales, improved staff conditions and the overall quality of operations on site. Working for small family-run company makes for a friendly and comfortable work environment. My employers are flexible and allow me to set my own schedule. 

“Although I started my MA in Culinary Arts Management with the intention of becoming a development chef, modules such as Human Resources, Risk Assessment, Social Responsibility and Strategic Management I found to be more engaging – and these have been integral to my role as a Technical Manager. 

“Undergraduate and postgraduate food courses offer multiple career paths into the food industry, so prospective students should take the time to explore them. A big strength of UCB’s MA Culinary Arts Management course is that students can experience different aspects of the industry and discover what it is that they really want to do. 

“My advice to current students is to search for jobs early. Alongside that, I would encourage them to make a portfolio of their work. Unlike being a chef, where you can demonstrate your skills in a trial kitchen, a technical or development role doesn’t offer this opportunity. Therefore, having a folder which details your development work and technical achievements will set you apart from other candidates.”

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