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Interview with Karen, TB Catering Manager

How long have you been working for Talkington Bates?

I've been with TB for 3 years but I’ve known Paul Bates for over 20 years. I joined the company as an Operations Assistant, then about 18 months ago moved into my current role as Catering

Manager at my site.

What’s a typical day in the life of Karen Haughey, TB Catering Manager?

Busy, busy, busy! From getting the team ready for breakfast and the lunch rush, to managing any last minute hospitality needs, it's certainly never a dull day. The other side of my role is managing the great team I work with. I ensure they understand any specific needs of the day are whilst enjoying their job. The afternoon is usually spent with paperwork, training, ordering and forward planning for the next day.

What do you love most about your job?

I thrive on variety and as each day really is never the same, it’s perfect for me! I particularly enjoy when we hold theme days at the site, the whole team really pull out all the stops for these and you can tell the customers enjoy them. We regularly get very positive feedback which is great to pass onto the rest of the team. Knowing you’ve made someone’s day a bit more fun and delicious, that’s a fantastic feeling.

Tell us a fact that we wouldn’t expect to hear?

Believe it or not, I love ancient history and can spend hours watching documentaries on it. I’m also a Judo referee!

What’s your favourite dish?

Oh that’s so difficult as I love most foods! My tastes have changed as I’ve got older but I still love

trying new recipes and you can’t go wrong with Italian food. It’s probably easier for me to tell you which foods I don’t like: mixed fruits, tea and pork chops.

If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you would do?

Book a holiday for me and all my family! I would love to visit the Middle East and South America, maybe do a cooking course when I’m there too.

What was the first dish you ever cooked/baked?

The thing that springs to mind is from my time as a college student, believe it or not I had work experience at a local staff restaurant as part of the course, and who should run that restaurant but Paul Bates himself! I vividly remember him teaching me how to make profiteroles, it was an amazing experience, and now here I am 20+ years later mentoring other young chefs with their development.

Tell us about a recipe failure you’ve experienced!

Another memory from college springs to mind, my parents had just got a brand new oven so after

learning all about Offal I thought I’d give it a go at home. Cooked well it’s delicious, but whatever it was I made certainly was not. It smelled awful and we couldn’t get the smell out of the oven for weeks. However, that’s cooking for you, you just have to keep going until you perfect it!


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