Career Spotlights: The Food and Hospitality Industry Featuring Kizzy Thomas

Career Spotlights is a new segment on this blog, where we will delve into different industries. Today’s Career Spotlight focuses on working in the Food and Hospitality industry. I asked a good friend of mine (Kizzy Thomas) some questions about this industry, and I hope today’s article informs you! In the comment section below, let us know which aspect of the article stood out the most for you!

“Hi, I’m Kizzy Thomas, a 33-year-old Hospitality Manager and budding food Influencer.

I’ve always had a special place in my heart and belly for food as we all do, but I didn’t discover my talent until my late teens. In fact, I don’t recall having successfully made any dish until one day when I was 16, I made a chicken stew and hid in my room out of fear of criticism. Later my family all complimented the dish and this encouraged me. I started to really watch my aunties and elders whilst they cooked and soon realised I had a knack for observation and execution.

I started living on my own when I was 19 and began experimenting with the influences I had picked up.. I started with pan Caribbean cuisine and as I discovered a love for restaurants I fell in love with many other cuisines and added them to my mental dossier.

Working in hospitality, believe it or not, was an unplanned course. I was working in a completely different field at the time and realised that my 10-year career there needed to end. I had no idea what field I wanted to go into, only that I needed a change.

A friend of mine was working in a popular Japanese restaurant and encouraged me to apply as my customer service skills were transferable. I applied and got rejected so I gave up and considered working in a bank.

One day I decided to visit her at work and the general manager called me outside for a quiet word. I thought I was going to be barred for turning up and distracting the staff. On the contrary, he offered me a job. He said that he loved my personality and thought I was perfect for the brand. Surprised, I confessed that I had previously applied and that I was rejected on the grounds of not having the ‘wow factor’.

He said online applications are nonsense as he could see in person how amazing I am and that he wouldn’t take no for an answer. So I accepted and handed in my resignation.

2 months later I was serving trays of food in a fast-paced lively restaurant and I loved it. There was something new happening from day to day and even from customer to customer. The team was more like a family and there is jolly supportive energy all around you. The customers are having fun, the staff are having fun. Even when it’s busy and your feet ache, mentally you know that you had a good day. You hear the most interesting stories from your guests as well as your team who tend to hail from all walks. The most interesting thing about hospitality is that it tends to be a stop between job. Everyone has been somewhere or is on their way somewhere else and that makes it all the more colourful.

A lot of my skills from my previous career were indeed transferable and I really stood out. Not long after I got a promotion and started doing an aspect of management which I truly enjoy… Training. During that period I got an offer to join the team at a popular vegan restaurant in Central London.

The vegan world was completely alien to me but I effectively took a demotion for the second time in my life in order to learn something new. The fact that I’d left a management position in my previous career to be a waitress only to become a manager again encouraged me to overcome the fear of change.

That change was one of the best decisions of my life. I was introduced to an entire world of new. I was very impressed by the imagination of the brand to make vegetables so delicious and exciting. I was effectively eating vegan 5 times a week and not missing anything. I didn’t become vegan but I developed a high appreciation for fresh produce and I learned a lot about colours and flavour which definitely moulded my current style.

I have now been with this company for 3 years and I’m once again in a management position. I’ve learnt a lot not just about food but also about how to effectively run a business. The previous owner of the company, whom I had the pleasure to know, started from scratch with just one restaurant in the middle of Soho at a time when veganism wasn’t a trend. Her bravery, commitment and resilience hail to my own belief that change is good and risk is even better. It is my personal goal to one day do what she did.

In the meantime, I’ve slowly begun building my own online platform in the food sector and I am excited about the future. I’d like to open just one restaurant for now providing good quality food. I’d also like to be a food Influencer with my youtube page as well as in the agricultural sector.

I am convinced that everyone has the ability to create healthy delicious food without spending a fortune, with a bit of imagination and that the lasting benefits of eating well are invaluable.

My advice for anyone wanting to enter the sector is to not just apply online but to show your face. Online I didn’t have what it takes. In-person I was irresistible. Have confidence in who you are and know that you don’t need to be qualified, you just need to be willing to learn.

My second advice would be to drop your pride. People questioned why I would leave a high management position to become a waitress. Now I’m a manger again and way more qualified. I personally know head chefs who started as a pot wash guys, with no English and now they manage high paced kitchens. When you start at the lowest level you have the unique opportunity to learn the company from the base upwards, something you will never appreciate if you start at the top.

Thank you for reading my story.”

Kizzy’s social media links:

Instagram:

Incognito’s Kitchen

https://www.instagram.com/incognito_kitchen/

If you would like to take part in a Career Spotlight article, free feel to get in contact!

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