I attended the College of Food Technology and Domestic Arts from 1984 to 1986. I achieved my 706/1 and 706/2 Professional Cookery Craft Diploma and won the best student of the year award, receiving a cheque for £100.
After leaving college in 1986, I went into fine dining. I worked at a French restaurant called Le Biarritz as a commis chef, working my way up to chef de partie, then I joined Aston University Business School as a chef de partie from 1989 to 1995, while I was also in charge of training the staff on the Youth Opportunities Scheme. I then moved back into fine dining between 1995 and 1997, working at The Mill in Alvechurch as a second chef.
In 1997, I joined Sutcliffe Catering (part of Compass Catering) as a catering manager and worked for West Midlands Ambulance Service managing two sites. In 1998 I was given the unique position of troubleshooter, working in catering outlets around the country that were struggling with staff issues, gross profit and general kitchen practices. My job was to standardise recipes and train staff to the high standards set by the company.
I started teaching at University College Birmingham in 2000 as a part-time lecturer in Pastry, the Cap and Gown, Kitchen Larder Skills and theory sessions. I was appointed as a full-time lecturer in 2004 and I am currently programme manager for the NVQ1 and 2 Professional Cookery course. I have achieved my Intermediate and Advanced certificates in food hygiene and my Certificate in Education, as well as assessor qualifications (D32 and D33) and internal verification certificate (V1). I have also achieved a BPhil in Education and a Master's in Education at the University of Birmingham.
My present position is Head of Department for the College of Food – in this position, my responsibilities involve leading a large FE/HE team. My role also involves working closely with the Executive and Deputy Deans to implement the school’s strategy in the department. I am responsible for the operational planning in the department ensuring there is excellent enhancement and enrichment opportunities for students and ensuring that the curriculum is engaging and industry-focused.
I am teaching higher education students in the bakery department on Level 5 Contemporary Patisserie modules. I also teach NVQ3 students in the pastry kitchen which provides plated desserts for the Atrium and Brasserie restaurants. In addition, I am a mentor/tutor to the 19+ and 16-18 students on the NVQ2 Professional Cookery programme.
Research interests and scholarly activity
In 2010 I was selected to teach on a four-week programme in Barbados. I have also organised the Erasmus overseas placements for the NVQ3 Professional Cookery students since 2013, including interviewing potential students, selecting them to go to Denmark and assisting them to ensure they complete a three-week placement.
In 2019, I went to Mumbai in February and July to present and demonstrate courses for Master's Higher Education students at UCB.
I did some staff development at Adam Foods which gave me insight into product development in the industry.