Food, beverage and hospitality operations are key themes that have formed the basis of James’ career spanning nearly three decades in the catering industry. After completing his Chef Apprenticeship in the UK in 1992, James emigrated to South Africa where his career continued through the running of his own five-star Royal Hotel kitchen.
In 1996 James developed a leading Seafood Restaurant concept where, other than his position as a Director, James focussed on his operational role within the company and progressed from Head Chef, to Group Executive Chef, and then onto Group Operations for six of his own outlets. The brand was eventually acquired by a top JSE listed restaurant chain and franchised nationally. James moved into the role of Operations & Development Director, leading projects that focussed on business expansion, franchisee training, procurement, supply chain, multi-site operations and overall culinary strategy for the brand.
Within his development responsibilities, James was initially tasked with opening a further 20+ outlets in key locations. This involved continual brand development, restaurant and bar concept work, and ultimately project managing the build and fit out process. Operationally he headed up culinary product development and franchise mobilisation teams across the country.
As James’ career progressed, extensive hands-on food and beverage operational experience in kitchens, restaurants, bars, along with group team training, marketing and standard operating procedure development were key factors that led to several successful self-funded business turnaround projects. Upon his return to the UK, James was recruited as Director for a local pub group where he primarily assisted in the re-design, build out and mobilisation of their flagship venue and then went on to develop and oversee site operations for the group.
James joined Russell Partnership Consulting in 2017. In the UK he works with a number of HE sector clients, including St Johns College Cambridge, developing their Catering Strategy and conducting KPI Quality Audits. He works with both the Museum of London and Manchester Metropolitan University developing food and beverage Concept of Operations. Within the UAE he supports several of key clients in developing operations and training skills, retail concept designs, culinary and operational operating standards, kitchen management processes and allergen & nutritional policies.