Bradley Cross: ‘We're solving the problem at the very beginning, at the very root of it’

The  Staff Canteen

Bradley Cross Kitchen Manager at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons

Bradley Cross’s love of food came from helping his mother in the kitchen at an early age and when it came to trying to decide on a career it was a choice between being a barber or a chef.

Hospitality won and he went to Boston College, in Lincolnshire, to study food. During his time at college, he would also gain experience working in local pubs. Eventually, through a mutual contact, he was able to get a role at Le Manoir.

Brad said: “There was somebody in the year above me at college. He went to our school and went to work at Le Manoir in the summer. He told me, 'you should give this place a go’. So, when I came to the end of my third year he put in a good word for me.”

‘The gift that keeps on giving’

Brad started working for Le Manoir right out of college, after passing a test and would stay there for three years (2011 -2014) before moving to work under Sat Bains.

Brad returned to work at Le Manoir and has been there for just over a year, taking on the role of kitchen manager since his return.  

He said: “It's really hard to put [the journey] into words, I would never have imagined that I would get to where I am today, with more opportunity for development ahead of me".

 “I felt so out of my depth when I started because I knew so little. Over time and with a lot of effort, I learned how to work, - working faster, being more efficient - and then how to lead; problem-solving and solving problems before they have occurred. All under the industry-leading guidance of Raymond Blanc and Gary Jones. Being part of a passionate team really helped me progress.”

On the hospitality industry, Brad added: “It’s kind of the gift that keeps on giving. Raymond's ethos of sharing knowledge is apparent to all of us. The amount I have learned here at Le Manoir and can continue to learn and contribute back to the industry is incredible.

Working at Le Manoir Bradley has had the opportunity to work with many amazing chefs, all Raymond's protege's. During his time out from Le Manoir, he not only worked with Sat, but also he had a chance to work with more chefs who have earned their own Michelin stars since. "I'm thankful for every chef I have had an opportunity to work with, and I have learned from each and every one"

Sustainability

Brad discussed how sustainability has always been at the core of everything Raymond Blanc and the team do. "This is born out of Raymond's childhood with his parents in France, where seasonality, foraging and no waste was part and parcel of his approach: every member of the team, no matter which department of the hotel they work in is part of this journey.

“We've started by reducing where we get our ingredients from - in terms of the distance,” he explained. “Reducing the carbon footprint of getting the food to us - using local suppliers - which is good for sustainability but also good for the economy, and just doing the right thing by supporting the local farmer.”

He also discussed the steps taken to reduce waste in the business, saying “We've got a composter and a dryer so that we can take our food waste from the kitchen and get that dried out, turn that back into compost and use that out back on the soil.”

Work Experience

While talking with Brad, he discussed how Le Manoir is looking for work experience candidates. While he said it wasn’t entirely to do with the staffing crisis, he didn’t deny that it was a factor.

Brad said: “We want to make people interested in the hospitality industry at all levels.”

He also goes into schools and colleges, he said: “I do talks about the industry, talks about food, garden to plate, sustainability, nutrition, resilience and the rewards of the industry. Just to get people interested in the industry and think of it as an amazing career, it's so important to keep it relevant.

“There's too much negative stigma about the industry - about how hard it is and the hours and all that kind of stuff - that can put people off before they've even tried it, and when you've tried it and when you love it, it's so satisfying.”

He added: “Getting people interested in the industry will solve, hopefully, the staffing shortages across the country and the more chefs we have the more chefs get better and develop, the better food we then produce and the happier we can make our guests. We're solving the problem at the very beginning, at the very root of it.”

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 25th July 2022

Bradley Cross: ‘We're solving the problem at the very beginning, at the very root of it’