Group food champion’s mission to inspire new kitchen talent

Richard Moore has been appointed group development chef following his promotion from the role as head chef at the operator’s £4.5m The Commissioners Quay Inn in Blyth, Northumberland

Having worked in some of London’s leading hotel kitchens and headed up the brigade in Newcastle-upon-Tyne’s Theatre Royal for 11-years, where he cooked for royalty including Prince Charles as well as some of the biggest names in UK acting, Richard has set his sights on nurturing new and existing talent in kitchens across the group’s 10-strong and growing estate.

He also plans to set up a chef’s training programme as the group continues its growth journey to more than double its portfolio by 2022.

Believing the key to maintaining quality and focus across the award-winning hospitality group, is to foster home-grown culinary talent from within, Mr Moore said: “It’s no secret that there is a chronic shortage of chefs nationally. Long working hours and often unrealistic expectations has seen a dip in young people moving into the hospitality sector.

“The future of the hospitality industry and businesses like The Inn Collection Group lies in the hands of young people coming through. If you have the right environment, training and atmosphere, then people will want to get into the hospitality sector and, more importantly, feel valued and want to stay.”

“Years ago young people, myself included, viewed going into a professional kitchen as a fantastic achievement. We need to revitalise that spirit, to open young people’s eyes to the genuine opportunities available within the industry and to encourage them to see a career as a chef as one worthy of their time and energy. I am extremely excited about taking on the challenge of building on our already strong creative team and nurturing our existing and future young talent.”

Richard added: “There can be a certain snobbishness about going to work for a pub group, but The Inn Collection Group was named the Best Pub Employer up to 500 employees in the national Publican Awards and were finalists in several categories of The Great British Pub Awards.”

He is already in talks with Northumberland College in Ashington to set up a new chef training programme for The Inn Collection Group and to introduce kitchen apprenticeships to the company, which currently employs 370 staff across its ten-strong sites.

Around 70 more jobs are set to be created with the opening of The Ambleside Inn in Ambleside in December and The Coniston Inn in Coniston in Spring 2020, both in the Lake District.

The Inn Collection Group’s managing director Sean Donkin believes employing and investing in local staff is paramount to the success of its venues.

He said: “We tend to find that local people care more and also understand what it is our customers want and need, whether that be general advice on the area or recommendations on where to go for a day out.

“Richard is the ideal person to ensure we can continue to find, train and retain local people within the business. He is very good at imparting his own passion and care on to others.

“Food is massively important for us, and we pride ourselves on the consistently high standard we offer across all our pubs. We make no bones about the fact that we are not about fine dining. We are middle market offering good, honest food freshly prepared, cooked and eaten in intimate and relaxing surroundings.

“Our sales and growth back up this approach, and it’s an approach we are very firm about as we grow.”