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The Friday Interview ! Mark Lee, Ops Director, Lovely Pubs

About Mark ….

I love catering and been doing this most of my life. Born in London and from a small island called Penang, Malaysia and educated at Rugby School. I have had some great mentors over the years, and I have always believed in delivering well to my colleagues and to the guests who have always followed me
I have been working with Paul Salisbury and Paul Hales for about 14 years, previously I was the Catering Manager who opened halls 17-20 at the NEC. So whether fine dining for two guests, or public guests for 100,000 people, I’ve seen it all and made it happen. Even a certain Mr Ramsay came to me, during Good Food Show, and questioned how we were able to serve so many guests his menu…..just a great team around me and a chefs brigade of over 15!
I honestly believe I’m one of the luckiest men around with an awesome family, who have all suffered my late nights and long weeks in Hospitality. What has to be shouted out, is that, this industry has afforded the life style and successes, that has seen both my two children attend University for a combined period of 9 years!

What does 2019 have in store for you and the industry ?

WOW, its going to be a busy year for Lovely Pubs, we are just completing the build of our new 16 bedroom hotel at the Baraset Barn and with a little extra push, I’m hoping to complete my two year Level 5 CIPD course. Alongside the busyness of running a successful group of pubs, I have taken on a further project on being on the Advisory Board for Moreton Hall, Warwickshire College Group’s Hospitality and Catering School.
Not only will it be busy for me personally, but the industry is going through some changes. With all our margins being squeezed, the desire for a work life balance, the Brexit deal – which brings along so much uncertainty, skill shortages and an amazing industry that has seen such an incredible growth in my life time

If you could change one thing in Hospitality, what would it be ?

I would love to change the ideology that this industry is only for students, drop outs and lost souls…its not, it is full of generous, amazing, gifted and talented people, who give their all to look after others

Who do you admire most in the industry ?

That’s a tricky question, but I love Jamie Oliver’s passion to make things right and his desire to develop the next generation. But the most admiration I have for in this industry, is for those who work alongside me and with me

What’s your biggest gripe ?

My current gripes are unpolished shoes, lack of respect for others, and why my car is always full of work stuff…!

What would be your desert island drink ?

I miss my Chinese roots , so it would be Iced Malay “Kopi”, Chrysanthemum Tea, and A+W Root Beer…am I allowed a choice ? I like choice, it makes life interesting.

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