Rising stars

Gift Chatepa
Retail services manager and Rising Star winner at the recent BaxterStorey People Awards 2023

What is your current role and what does it entail?

I’m the retail manager at BaxterStorey’s NatWest client site in London. I look after our retail services, including marketing and promoting our retail offers to attract new customers and build up brand loyalty. 

I work closely with our chefs – with menu planning and development, managing budgets and resources, hiring and training team members, and liaising with clients and customers – to understand their specific needs and preferences. I also ensure compliance with food safety regulations and the successful execution of services. 

I'm the BaxterStorey Sustainability Champion for my location too. This involves overseeing sustainable innovations and initiatives, including our garden terrace where we grow our own produce, and managing the food composter and the wormery, which provide the soil for our garden. 

Why did you want to work in catering?
When growing up, I would hang around the kitchen a lot with my three sisters. I’m passionate about food and hospitality, and that has always been a driving force in my career choices.

Growing up and spending a lot of time in the kitchen with my mother and sisters was a special and enriching experience. It taught me several important lessons about food and hospitality that continue to influence my career choices. 

I find immense satisfaction in creating memorable dining experiences for customers. The dynamic nature of the catering industry, the creative opportunities it offers in menu planning, and the chance to work at a variety of venues have always intrigued me. 

What do you enjoy about the industry?
The ability to turn culinary creativity into reality. Seeing the delight on guests’ faces and receiving positive comments is incredibly rewarding.

The fast-paced and evolving nature of the industry keeps me engaged and motivated, and I’m part of a team that is as obsessed as I am about delivering memorable experiences. 

The speedy nature of our work often requires quick problem solving and adaptability, which is not without its challenges! There is often pressure to meet client and customer demands, but when you overcome these challenges, it can be incredibly fulfilling and it’s what makes this industry so dynamic and exciting. 

For anyone aspiring to join the industry, I would describe it as a field where creativity, attention to detail and excellent communication skills are highly valued. Building a strong network and continuously expanding your culinary knowledge are crucial for success. And the most rewarding part of this job is the smiles on people's faces when they enjoy the food and service you provide.

How did it feel when you found out you had won the award?
Winning the Rising Star award was exhilarating. The feeling of recognition and accomplishment was overwhelming, and it reinforced my passion for providing top-notch catering services. 

I saw it as an award for the entire team, for all their hard work and dedication. It's moments like these that remind me why I'm so passionate about this industry.

Did you enjoy the event?
Definitely – it was a fantastic evening of networking, celebrating achievements and connecting with teams from across the UK that you don’t often see in your day-to-day. It's always inspiring to be in the company of like-minded people who share a passion for hospitality.

What is your biggest ambition?
I would like to develop my skills in digital marketing; I recently passed my level three digital marketing apprenticeship. I have already been able to support marketing campaigns by creating digital content for the bank’s lifts and digital office screens using my new skills, as well as content sharing the progress of our on-site garden and encouraging sustainable behaviours among our customers. 

My biggest ambition is to continually raise the bar for our services. I aspire to expand our business, build enduring relationships with clients and customers, and explore innovative culinary concepts. Ultimately, I want to leave a lasting positive impact on the industry and the people we serve.

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