From little seeds grow mighty trees
The Chef Tree was born from Back-2-Front, a highly successful hospitality recruitment agency, based in the South West. Formed in 2009, Back-2-Front, as the name suggests, offered both chef and waiting staff to businesses throughout the South West. From 2014 the business changed to focus solely on chef recruitment. As Managing Director Pete Cann explains,
“We had built up a very successful business but by 2014 it was clear that the chef side of the business was where true our passions lay.
We’ve had chefs who have been with us for 8 to 9 years and customers using our chefs for the same amount of time.
The chefs and customers feel like part of the family and so we wanted to recognise this by rebranding ourselves so there could be no doubt; we are all about experienced and professional chefs who share our values.”
Our core values underpin every single thing that we do as a business and can be broken down into four strands;
Our core values run deep within the business and inform how we conduct ourselves with our customers and our chefs.
When we recruit our chefs, they know from the moment they step through the door what our value system entails; we are courteous and welcoming. Our interview system is value led and we hand pick each of our chefs who are able to demonstrate their ability to follow our values. The in-house training that each of our chefs undertake focuses on our core values and our chefs are expected to follow this system in the workplace as well as with their dealings with us and our staff.
Our office staff work within our core value system so they can be relied upon to be courteous, to work well in a team, to give a fantastic first impression and to work efficiently.
Our core values are the root system that drives our business and allows us to grow and bear fruit for all of our chefs and our customers.
Pete has been in the industry since leaving college, more years ago than he’s care to mention! He has got his hands dirty in busy pubs and restaurant kitchens, where he worked as a chef for two years. Pete has also had extensive experience of managing busy, city centre restaurants.
What gets you up in the morning? My alarm! Seriously, the thing that gets me out of bed in the morning is my morning routine. I have a specific routine that really puts me in the right head space to achieve all I need to that day.
Any skills or talents that people would be surprised to hear about? I can DJ! I’ve been in front of the decks in Ibiza with over 1000 people dancing. That was a while ago so something more recent would be my ability to make a room laugh! I’ve been a Laughter Yoga Leader for a few years and it’s a great feeling being able to make a roomful of people laugh together.
Where is your favourite place in the world? I’m going to cheat a little bit here and say my caravan! Because then I can go anywhere I want, which is usually anywhere with a coastline.
What has been your greatest achievement? Besides marrying Chloe? I would have to say that would be walking up Machu Picchu in Peru. It was a gruelling 5 day trek, walking up to 2,430 metres above sea level in very hot conditions.
Who in the world do you most admire? I would say I admire anyone who starts their own business, gets on with it and is able to make a success out of their own idea.
If you went to a Happy Hour, what would you order? As I don’t drink I’d order a pint of Giggle Juice!
How would your colleagues describe you in three words? Energetic, go-getter, motivational.
Chloe has worked in the hospitality industry since the age of 16, where she worked in kitchens and behind bars before becoming a trainer for front of house staff. Chloe took a break from the industry for a couple of years and travelled the world for 15 months. On her return in 2009 Chloe set up Back-2-Front and has been back in the hospitality world ever since.
What gets you out of bed in the morning? It has to be a strong cup of coffee and my exercise regime. I need the coffee to get me out either running or doing Yoga!
Any skills or talents that people would be surprised to hear about? Well I can knit a blanket. Without needles and just using my fingers. It comes in so handy!
What is your favourite place in the world? I don’t have a favourite place but I do love going somewhere which is so culturally different to what I’m used to. I love exploring new cultures and trying foods I never knew existed.
What has been your greatest achievement? Besides having two beautiful kids I would have to say that running continuously for 5 hours has been my greatest achievement. That’s the problem when you run the London Marathon at a slow pace, you have to run for longer!
Who in the world do you most admire? Michelle Obama. I listen to her book, ‘Becoming’ when I’m running and it is incredibly inspiring.
If you went to a Happy Hour, what would you order? I really like IPA, but it has to be fizzy, I don’t enjoy the flat stuff. A pint, please!
How would your colleagues describe you in three words? Straight talking, approachable, honest.
Orla started working as a chef at the age of 15 before undertaking professional chef training. Following her training Orla worked as a chef in Jersey. Orla then moved to Bristol where she worked in a variety of establishments from busy hotels to gastro pubs and fine dining. Orla then spent 5 years as a chef for a large contract catering company, working her way up from a CDP to a chef manager running her own unit. In 2010 Orla joined Back-2-Front.
What gets you out of bed in the morning? Probably the kids. I haven’t set an alarm in the last 8 years!
Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about? I did learn to crochet. And I can also Irish dance. But not both at the same time!
What is your favourite place in the world? Cappodocia, in Turkey. They have hot air balloons floating in the air all day. You can either just look at them or take a ride in them. It’s an amazing place.
What is your greatest achievement in life so far? It’s got to be the two marathons in two days that I ran last year with Chloe. It’s been a year but I’m still broken!
Who in the world do you most admire, and why? I’m going to say my best friend Janine. With the background she had growing up and how she’s persevered and got herself to where she is today has been amazing. She a person to lean on when you need to.
If you went to Happy Hour, what would you order? I like a frozen strawberry daiquiri but I haven’t had one in ages.
How do you think your colleagues would describe you? Team player, funny, supportive.
Amy has worked in the hospitality industry since the age of 14. In that time Amy has had extensive experience throughout the industry in a wide variety of roles. As well as being an experienced restaurant manager, Amy has managed chefs and ran a successful hotel in France for a number of years.
What gets you out of bed in the morning? Exercise. I’ve been doing spin classes for quite a while but have recently taking up running to keep active. But I’m just not very good at it!
Any skills or talents that people would be surprised to hear about? I’m a singer. And I don’t just mean in the shower or in front of the mirror! I’ve never sung to anyone in the office but my claim to fame is singing at a charity event for Help for Heroes.
Where is your favourite place in the world? I love a place called Interlaken in Switzerland. I grew up there and it is a magical place to go. We made a lot of friends there that are friends for life and it’s a special place for me.
What has been your greatest achievement? Personally I’d say it was losing a fair bit of weight as I used to be quite heavy. Professionally I would have to say it was working in Scotland’s only 2 Michelin Star restaurant.
Who in the world do you most admire? My other half. He just has the ability to make everything perfect. He’s funny, very intelligent and is definitely my favourite person.
If you went to a Happy Hour, what would you order? A gin and tonic please. Hendricks and slim line tonic but it has to come with cucumber, none of this lime nonsense!
How would your colleagues describe you in three words? Funny, frank, smiley.
Rachel’s first experience of the hospitality industry came when she worked in her local chippy. Following two apprenticeships in business administration and then customer service, Rachel started work at Back-2-Front.
What gets you out of bed in the morning? Always a coffee! The chance to talk to people! I tell people what I’m going to do that day and then I just go and do it!
Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about? I knit bunnies. And I’m a Brownie mentor which is just incredible.
What is your favourite place in the world? I would go to this tiny little fishing village called Mazarron in Spain. My dad grew up there and my grandparents still live there. We try and go at least once every two years.
What is your greatest achievement in life so far? I think that would be the Brownies. I absolutely love my time there. I’m not a leader yet but I am known as Magic Owl!
Who in the world do you most admire, and why? Amy in the office introduced me to a motivational speaker to Brene Brown and I absolutely love her.
If you went to Happy Hour, what would you order? Gin and lemonade. I really like the fruity gins that you can get.
How do you think your colleagues would describe you? Crazy, funny, kind.
Now not a good time? Why not book a call with one of our experienced office team who will happily talk through any questions or concerns you may have.
The Chefs I receive from The Chef Tree are very confident which makes my job easier - they are very helpful with a good attitude with good communication
They know about nutrition, they know about allergies I can definitely recommend The Chef Tree to any school caterer. They are excellent