- NEWS & CHAT
We are delighted to have Ryan Lewis as one of our ACE Robyns finalists. He is an area manager at Wilson Vale and is responsible for numerous sites with an annual turnover of Â£2.9m. He supports his entire team to be the best they can be by developing their food knowledge, craft and business skills. He has told us more about his love of the industry and what being part of the ACE Robyns Awards means to him.
What do you love most about working in contract catering?
Working within contract catering gives you the ability to get to know your customers. This is something I very much enjoy. I feel I can supply them with a personal touch every time they come to visit us. Building relationships with customers is key to supplying a memorable experience every time.
How did it feel to learn someone had nominated you for the ACE Robyns Award?
Being nominated for an ACE Robyns Award must be one of the highlights of my career so far. To get external recognition for all the efforts put in on a daily basis is really humbling. It has filled not only myself, but also my family, with pride.
What does being a finalist mean to you?
Being a finalist is a huge achievement within itself. Itâ€™s an amazing feeling to be recognised for all the efforts which I have put into the catering industry and it gives me the motivation to keep pushing.
How has work life been for you during the pandemic?
I think I speak on behalf of everyone in our industry when I say it has been tough. The team I worked with were at risk of redundancy, however I managed to secure my Relief Team role. While on furlough I kept busy by cooking and developing dishes from home which were delivered to family and the community. Whilst living on my own this was a great way of keeping myself busy and also providing help to others. Returning to work during the pandemic, I opened a field kitchen at one of our sites as the restaurant couldnâ€™t open because of the restrictions. Although the field kitchen set-up had its challenges, it was great to be back in the kitchen feeding key workers. Keeping a positive attitude has been key to getting through the pandemic.
What has been your biggest success in your role?
I think my biggest success to date must be coming through Covid-19, with the immense pressure it put on our industry, and keeping a job I love and then climbing the ladder in our operations team to where I now am.
What are your ambitions for your future in the hospitality industry?
My ambitions have always remained the same â€“ creating a great customer experience through amazing food, impeccable service, supporting local suppliers with a focus on sustainability and finally, climbing the Wilson Vale career ladder to new heights. I want to absorb as much knowledge along the way as I can.
Why are the ACE Robyns so important?
I think the ACE Robyns are important because it gives real recognition to all levels of staff within our industry. No matter what level we work at, it is a tough industry to be a part of. An award which is aligned with a name such as Robyn Jones OBE is a huge honour to be nominated for. It has certainly provided me with even more motivation, and I am sure it has for the other nominees.
You can join us at the ACE Summer Party to find out who this yearâ€™s winner is and to celebrate and network with industry peers.