Could you tell us a bit more about yourself and your past in the trade?
I’ve been in the industry for longer than I’d care to admit, as it might give away my age. I really found my footing then when I moved to New Zealand in 2006 and got myself in a top cocktail bar and instantly fell in love with the art and craft of mixing drinks. Fast forward a few years, some random awards, a consultancy at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai and I ended up as a global brand ambassador for Bulleit.
When did you decide to found Healthy Hospo? What do you aim to achieve?
The idea for Healthy Hospo was formed during my recovery from a breakdown in 2016. As a global ambassador, a career of travel, jetlag, hotels, airports, loneliness and regular drinking took their toll and it call came crashing down in a hotel room in Athens and was diagnosed with Severe Unipolar Depression. I decided to talk publicly about my illness and recovery and it was the response from people in the industry, opening up and telling me their personal struggles, that convinced me that something needed to be done to help.
Healthy Hospo aims to help build a healthier, happier and more sustainable hospitality industry. We want to educate and inspire people to be able to thrive in the industry and be able to have a long, healthy and successful career.
You are an active supporter of The Benevolent’s work and are a current Ambassador for the charity. When did you come across the Benevolent’s work and why did you decide to support it?
I first came across The Benevolent whilst working at Diageo and it was whilst setting up Healthy Hospo I decided to get in touch about becoming an Ambassador. I consider it both an honour and a duty to be an Ambassador for The Benevolent as it provides a vital support network for the industry and my belief is that Healthy Hospo and The Benevolent can work in partnership to provide help, advice and support to those that work in the industry.
Why do you believe that bartenders, and in general members of the UK drinks industry, should be aware of our work?
The drinks industry can be a hedonistic and exciting place to work, but it’s also very easy to get caught up in a vicious circle work, drink, forget sleep, repeat. The Benevolent provides an invaluable service and safety net for an industry that often lacks comprehensive insurance, unionisation and the support that can be present in other industries.
What would be your message to the industry about how they can support the Benevolent?
Get involved! Make yourself aware of the support that The Benevolent can provide, tell everyone you can about The Benevolent, check out the website, donate a little money, even if it’s 1 hours wage a week and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
What are you plans for this year?
It’s going to be a massive year and I am SO excited to see what we can achieve with Healthy Hospo this year. We’ve got BIG plans to reach as many people as possible to educate and inspire in our mission to build a happier, healthier and more sustainable hospitality industry and we look forward to working with The Benevolent along our journey.