Chesterford Research Park’s catering team regularly feeds in excess of 300 customers per day through The Nucleus Restaurant and hospitality for events held at the Park. The 200-seater restaurant runs a daily breakfast and lunch service serving a range of freshly prepared, locally-sourced food prepared by our award-winning on-site catering team. Jaison is the Catering and Conference Manager of The Nucleus for Elior UK and here he gives us an insight into his role, the catering team and life at the Park.
How does a typical day start for you?
I arrive at the Park at 06:30 each morning, collecting the keys from security and unlocking the facility checking that everything is in working order. This is usually followed by accepting any deliveries and ensuring these are stored correctly or transported to the right place.
I’ll check my emails and voicemails for any changes that might have occurred overnight, then it’s full steam ahead for the day!
How did you come to be Catering Manager at Chesterford Research Park?
I was managing another site in Cambridge catering for 1200+ customers when I was approached about the position here at the Park. After visiting the site and considering the role I could see the potential and relished the opportunity.
What is the best part of your job and what gives you job satisfaction?
I really enjoy supporting and helping our customers - Park occupiers, the site team and visitors alike. There’s a lot of job satisfaction in providing great food and service and seeing happy customers.
I also like being based at such an innovative Park and watching the companies on it grow. It’s a beautiful setting and the team I work with are excellent.
What skills and experience to you need to do your job?
I trained as a chef in the early 90’s and have worked in various areas of the catering industry including education, private healthcare, hotels, restaurants and contract catering. Working in these establishments set me on my path into the management side of the business.
Experience is an asset you need to succeed in this role as it’s very varied. Most importantly, you need to be a team player with good communication skills and a can-do attitude.
You manage a large team; what are their roles and how do you all interact to deliver the service you do?
We are a long-serving, tight-knit team consisting of myself, my deputy, three chefs, a hospitality host and six catering assistants. We all work closely together to ensure we provide the best possible service to our customers on a daily basis.
What specific services do you and your team provide to Park occupiers?
Aside from providing day-to-day catering services, including a breakfast and lunch service in The Nucleus Restaurant, we also provide catering for internal and external conferences in our purpose-built facility on the first floor. This could range from breakfast meetings for a few guests to lunches and afternoon teas for 200.
The themed dishes from around the world that we regularly have on our menus give our customers the opportunity to try something new and interesting. And our summer barbeques are always a hit - the outside seating area comes into its own during the warmer weather.
We also cater for various evening and weekend events including birthday parties, weddings, corporate dinners, and barbecues and hog roasts in the beautiful grounds of the Park.
What’s your favourite type of event to hold at the Park?
I’m really excited about our upcoming Indian themed dinner which is based around the last Maharaja, His Highness Maharaja Sir Duleep Singh, to be in residence at the Elveden Estate in Thetford. The evening will take inspiration from his roots and his love of game while he was in residence at Thetford. The Nucleus Restaurant will be transformed with lots of bright colours and we’ll even have a fully-functional Tuk-tuk!
Are there any imminent new initiatives that will enhance your services further?
We are always looking at new and exciting ways in which we can further develop our facilities and catering. I’m particularly looking forward to be using and selling our own Chesterford Research Park harvested honey within the restaurant. As we speak, some of the Park team are undertaking a bee-keeping course with the hope of introducing hives to the Park this year! This will be a great addition to the existing herb boxes that the catering team already use when producing the dishes on our daily menus.
In your opinion, why do the Chesterford Research Park occupiers choose to base themselves here?
Apart from it being a beautiful setting in which to work, it has great links to major road networks including the A11 and M11 and has easy access to all major London airports.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I enjoy eating out and socialising with friends and family. I have two amazing grandchildren and my wife and I love to spend as much time with them as possible!