It’s been a little while since we have done a ‘meet the team’, so we thought it was about time we went behind the scenes and chatted to one of the many people that make P&H what it is. Without further ado, let me introduce our sales and product development gun Rod. Rod has been in the game his entire career and knows first hand the ins and outs of the food industry. Growing up Rod watched his older brother become a chef and remembers always being encouraged by his mum and dad to lend a hand in the kitchen at home, while regular getaways into the outback meant learning quickly how to be innovative and independent, when it came to survival and making yourself food from scratch. So, it is of no surprise that after doing some work experience at the Menzies, Rod was offered an apprenticeship in the kitchen and thus began his career in the hospitality industry. Rod describes his four years at the Menzies as a memorable time that set the foundation for his career and was where he got to really experience many facets of the service industry. From preparing buffet breakfasts, to sit down functions for in excess of 1200 guests, to table d’hote (set menu offerings) and right down to silver service.
After completing his apprenticeship he decided to try his hand overseas and spent a number of years travelling and working in various countries, from the yachts on the Turkish coastline servicing Belgian guests, to a number of ski seasons in Andorra, cooking for a family in private residence in Majorca to winters in both New Zealand and Australia as well. Following his stint overseas he spent the next ten years as executive chef of the Atrium in Sydney City, where he not only managed the kitchen, but would also source all the raw ingredients, weekly frequenting the fish markets, fruit and vegetable wholesalers and China Town for Asian ingredients. When the Atrium underwent ownership changes, he decided it was time to hang up the chef whites and move into the sales side of the industry, first working for a pastry wholesaler, then short cut meats before landing at P&H. Chatting to Rod we got to know a bit more about his role at P&H and what excites him in his day to day and his love and passion for good quality, chef level products.
What do you like about working for P&H?
The passion for food and quality, good ingredients. The same standards I had when I was head chef for all those years. Here at P&H we do things properly, the right way, the way a chef would and wants it done. We take the time; we don’t just cook it, we think about every single detail and place great importance in the preparation, as we call it the mise en place (preparation). Preparation is the backbone of any good kitchen.
It’s such a diverse role and knowing that we are constantly striving for premium, chef standard products, as a chef I couldn’t imagine selling anything less than that.
What’s your favourite product at P&H?
I’d have to say the beef cheeks is one of my favourites, especially in the winter months. They are so tender and moist. The entire integrity of the product is held in the way we prepare and cook it. It just eats so well; it is rich and gelatinous and just effortlessly pulls a part. The time we spend in marinating it makes all the difference, and the way we cook it as well does the ingredients true justice. In summer though I can’t go past a selection of pates and terrines especially the duck princess terrine, with a toasted crispy baguette and a nice salad, there is nothing like it. Plus, it requires little to no effort to prepare, which is always a win.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
One of my favourite parts is talking to and working with chefs to source and produce products to suit their menus. My background in the industry gives me the understanding and knowledge they have and when we combine that with my knowledge in product development and sales, we can come up with some truly amazing products. It’s like being a part of the action, but in a different way.
What’s next for P&H?
We are always looking at ways to grow and bring on board new customers and also work with current customers developing new products and menu offerings. We are in the midst of working on exporting products overseas, which is an exciting time and capacity for growth. We also are making steps towards bespoke manufacturing, working with suppliers who want us to prepare and cook their raw ingredients for their customers. Equally developing bespoke products with our existing clients. There is never a dull moment, there is such diversity in the day to day.
Rod is an absolute wealth of knowledge and his background as a chef means he truly understands what is important to a chef, what they look for, value and what makes them tick. He is also artfully skilled at plating up which always comes in handy! P&H is truly lucky to have Rod as part of the company and valued member of the P&H family.