James De Groot, Lord’s Cricket Ground

The Staff Canteen
James De Groot

James De Groot discusses his role as Head of Catering at Lord’s Cricket Ground and his own inspirations with regards to pursuing a career as a Chef.

Name: James De Groot

Place of work: MCC at Lord’s Cricket Ground

Role: Head of Catering

Bio: After completing a Hospitality Management degree, James de Groot worked with exclusive clients including the LTA, for the Aegon Championships, the PGA for the Ryder Cup and RFU for rugby at Twickenham, before moving to Lord’s Cricket Ground three years ago. James manages a team covering all aspects of the operation at Lord’s Cricket Ground, for members and the general public alike. He also helps stage everything from conferences to weddings, all around the iconic venue.

Chef Skills

James De Groot takes us through his personal experiences whilst being in the Culinary Industry. These key skills that young Chefs and industry professionals learn as part of their basic training.

How long have you been in this role?

3 years.

What kind of events at the club are you in charge of?

A real range from all of the catering on major match days (public and members areas, Lord’s Tavern, boxes and restaurants, Food Village operation), Club dinners, weddings, benefit dinners, wine tastings – it’s an extremely diverse and complex environment.

How many people do you have on your team?

A team of 45 full time staff (including all the Managers & Chefs). I’ve got an absolutely super team; each and every one of them care wholeheartedly about what they do, and the end product. I am extremely proud of them and there are some really talented individuals. However,  the team can grow to over 850 casual staff on any single major match day.

What do you look for when you are recruiting?

Personality, drive to succeed and willingness to learn. You don’t need to understand food and drink but you need to care about the customer.

What made you want to go into catering?

I enjoy both sports and F&B, so an opportunity of a work based placement at The Home of Cricket was too exciting to pass up.  The leisure sector is a fast paced Industry but a really fun environment to try and develop new initiatives along the way.

Out of everywhere that you have worked, would you say there was the most pressure working somewhere as iconic as Lord’s?

Lord’s and The Ryder Cup are the two most interesting and challenging events that I’ve operated.  

Is catering an area of the industry you would encourage Chefs just starting out in their career to pursue?

Absolutely, it’s a really fun learning environment – what you are prepared to put in, is definitely what you get out - you can definitely reap the rewards if you are prepared to graft.

What are your top five tips for someone looking to start a career in the hospitality sector?

Be honest, be passionate, be prepared to work hard, try to show off those interpersonal skills and your personality along the way with a ‘can do attitude’ and most importantly remember to have fun.

Knowing what you know now if you could go back, would you do anything differently?

Gone into banking!

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 27th April 2017

James De Groot, Lord’s Cricket Ground