Benjamin Souza-Morse owns The Salutation Inn near Castle Combe. He started his career at the Celtic Manor in South Wales after dropping out of school at the age of 17. From there he went on to be part of the Welsh national culinary team. Working with the likes of Matt Tebbutt at the Fox Hunter and Jamie Oliver at 15 in London and he's even cooked for Her Royal Majesty The Queen. He went from starting his career as a trainee at the Celtic Manor to being an Executive Chef looking after 16 pubs and restaurants with St Austell. Now he runs his own business with the determination to do things differently and not repeat the mistakes he found within the business models he has worked for during his time within hospitality.
Ben got in touch with our Worldwide page whilst our recent survey was live and we wanted to share his thoughts with you.
Hospitality gave me everything I could ever want!
These are scary times for hospitality... It's horrible to see my industry decimated by COVID-19 and then see my brothers and sisters leaving in their droves when it's time to show the world what they have been missing! Each one of those people have their reason's for leaving but if anyone else wants to leave please take a minute to think about whether it's the business they work for... or the industry they want to leave behind.
I became a chef straight out of school. Dropping out at 17 years old because I wasn't "smart enough" to pass my A Levels. Hospitality gave me the chance to change my life and the direction I was heading in. Now, I have my own pub and share my days with 16 fantastic people that I get to employ.
When I was 17, nothing was going right no matter what I did. It felt like I had no purpose, and that I had absolutely no control over my own life. I felt as though no matter what I did, life was against me. Joining the Hospitality industry give me the opportunity to change that and becoming a chef turned my life around.
The wonderful thing about Hospitality is that it's always groundhog day but better! Hear me out! At the end of the day you finish, you go home, sleep and the day resets. You go back to work and it's the same kitchen, same menu, same team... same shit different day.
Hospitality gives you another crack at yesterday. It gives you the chance to improve on what you did the day before! The best bit is it's with almost an entirely new set of customers who have no idea how badly that crème brulee split yesterday, or that you smashed a tray of glasses the day before. It gives you the opportunity to learn something new everyday and then implement it on a customer as if its their very first impression of your food or service. And if they are a returning customer then food and service just keeps getting better and better!!
Hospitality doesn't just do that with food and service. It does that with everything. It gives you the chance to improve on yesterday when very often the only thing that's changed is you!
The industry is tough, there is no way of getting around that. But it gives you a controlled environment with all the ingredients you need to grow and improve and one hell of a set of friends to grow with!