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26 April 2023
A few of our cooking enthusiastic Year 8 boys had a fantastic opportunity to visit Pluma Restaurant in Old Amersham, to meet with the Co-Founder, Charlie Baxter, for a talk about the fundamentals of running a successful hospitality business. Our boys who competed in our MasterCook Competition 2023 and some who are a part of our newly launched ‘Come Dine With Us’ initiative were selected to attend. The group were able to step inside the restaurant before opening hours to have an exclusive tour of the restaurant, kitchen, bar and store room as Charlie explained each part of the business. This gave our boys a real insight into the everyday operations that Pluma has to go through to ensure everything is ready for a high standard of service. They heard all about the different sections of the restaurant, the importance of good customer service, creativity behind the bar and communication in the kitchen. As well as the fascinating charcoal oven!
Charlie went into detail about how he encourages his staff members to contribute new ideas to the business, experimenting with new recipes or processes. He stated that this is not only for individual development but integral for business growth as well as intriguing customers to return. It was clear that Charlie and his team had great rapport and work together not only as a team, but like one big family.
In the afternoon, Charlie was kind enough to give us more of his time to visit The Beacon to talk to our boys in both Years 7 and 8 about his personal journey and how his career has evolved. His speech began by explaining how he attended a local private school and had no idea about any specific career aspirations at that age, how he had struggled with dyslexia, but on leaving school he put savings towards new equipment to start his own business in landscaping. Charlie highlighted that he had always had an underlying passion for food. The day came to make this passion reality career-wise when he and his wife made the decision to leave their jobs and dive into the deep end to follow their dream to launch their own restaurant. He told us all about the struggles along the way including the pandemic, training staff and their dedication to learn the ins and outs of the industry by working for other restaurant businesses. He put a real emphasis on highlighting the positives of trying new things and allowing the feeling of fear to become empowering.
A motivational quote Charlie Baxter learnt from his father that he lives by as a motto is, “If you never fall down, you never learn how to get back up again”
A big thank you to Kim Rowland, our Head of Cooking & Nutrition, who organised the visits. It is fair to say, our boys were fascinated by the talks and found them extremely insightful and inspiring.