Food, beverage and hospitality operations are major 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 in the kitchen, as Senior Sous Chef, within the five-star Royal Hotel in Durban.
In 1996 he developed a Seafood Restaurant concept, working alongside a top design team and specialist contractors to grow the brand. In addition to 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 7 sites and their fledgling franchise company.
In time and due to its success, the brand was acquired in 2006 by a top JSE listed restaurant chain and James moved into the role of Operations & Development Director. With the intention to now expand the business rapidly, he led initial projects that focussed on securing procurement contracts, ensuring supply chain capability and logistics.
Within his development responsibilities, James was tasked with project managing the opening another 20+ outlets across South Africa. This involved continued brand development and restaurant concept work, project managing the build and fit out process. His previous culinary experience led to input on final kitchen design and flow.
Extensive food and beverage operational experience in kitchens, restaurants, bars, staff training, marketing and developing standard operating procedures has been the key factor in three successful business turnaround projects – the most prestigious being a High End 55 hectare Premium Equestrian and Sporting facility. Upon his return to the UK, James joined a niche gastro pub company and as a Director went on to look after site operations and primarily assisted in the re design, build out and opening of their flagship 750m2 outlet.
James joined Russell Partnership Collection in 2017 and is currently working on multiple projects within the UAE assisting the Armed Forces Officers Club & Hotel develop training and operation procedures. Within The Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, James is assisting with retail concept design, project management and operating standards. In the UK he works with the Museum of London developing their food and beverage Concept of Operations and with several universities on Catering KPI Management and Audits.