During The Fresh Careers Fair, students and job seekers will have a unique opportunity to pitch themselves to widely experienced fresh produce, retail and foodservice industry figures – our very own Produce / Foodservice Dragons. The highly-respected Dragons will listen to an ‘elevator pitch’* from each person, before offering their honest and constructive feedback, to help improve their interview technique and give them focus in their search for a career in these wonderful industries. The best pitch on the day will also win an iPad Mini.

*It should be possible to deliver an ‘elevator pitch’ in the time span of an elevator ride, or in our case 2-3 minutes!

2018 Produce Dragons

Nigel Jenney

Nigel joined the Fresh Produce Consortium as Chief Executive in May 2004.

With a wealth of experience in the fresh produce sector, starting life in a family owned glasshouse business, Nigel was educated at Writtle College and began his career with the Department of Agriculture & Fisheries for Scotland, experiencing the diversity of the Glasgow Wholesale Market before moving to Aberdeen.

In 1988 Nigel moved to a senior management role within the commercial world of Heinz where he enjoyed the pace and variety of an international leader in the manufacture of a range of convenience food products.

Moving on in 1996 Nigel progressed his career in the role of Managing Director of a potato packing business which he converted into a limited company and expanded the customer base to include major multiples and manufacturers. Subsequently Managing Director of a leading vegetable co-operative focusing on the production of fresh and prepared products produced at multi-site locations supporting sales to major retailers, food service and manufacturing sectors, Nigel gained first-hand experience of temporary labour issues.

Currently Nigel heads up the FPC and is also a director of the EU equivalent organisation located in Brussels where he attends regular EU Fresh Produce Advisory Meetings.

Leading a small, highly dedicated team, Nigel is committed to the promotion of fresh produce in the UK and is actively involved in the development of the industry. His increased profile and in-depth knowledge of food security, sustainability and ethical trading matters have led to consistent lobbying and communication at an international level, debating at many forums on these and a variety of related issues. Nigel also holds a number of non-executive roles including New Covent Garden Market Authority and previously the Gangmaster Licensing Authority.

Tony Ganio

Tony’s work experience in the fresh produce industry spans decades. He is currently Managing Director at Back to Roots. In December 2013 he formed his own company consulting in fruit and sport’ and looks after various clients and activities. He is passionate about fitness and is a qualified coach. From 1996-2013, Tony was Commercial Director at Total Produce. He spent the first few years managing retail grape and stone fruit as well as other non-retail desks. He spent the latter years managing the four non retails divisions in the UK, as well as offices in Holland and Spain, generating sales in excess of £40 million, with a team of 12 sales/procurement staff reporting directly to him. Tony started his career as part owner of Reingold Ltd, specialising in importing produce from Spain and France. He sold the company to Albert Fisher Group in 1987.

Tony’s career has involved extensive traveling and meeting suppliers abroad. He specialises in managing costs and establishing strategic, mutually beneficial partnerships and relationships with suppliers and clients. He has a full understanding of all sectors in fresh produce in the UK market place and is also skilled in talent recruitment and consignment management.

Amy Lance

Amy Lance has worked in the UK retail sector for nearly 10 years, previously working in commercial and technical roles at Tesco and Waitrose. Last year, Amy worked with fresh produce businesses in Senegal, South Africa and the USA. Amy has now taken on a new challenge at a box delivery service HelloFresh, recently named as the fastest-growing company in Europe, where she is now working as head of technical.

Rupert Carter

Rupert has worked in the UK fresh fruit and vegetable business for over 20 years, and has a background in quality, technical, operational and general management.

For over a decade, he worked at one of the UK’s leading berry companies, Total Berry, before leaving his final role as Technical & CSR Director in November 2017 to work in a consultancy capacity with a number of companies in the UK and the Netherlands through his new business Veritech Services.
Rupert began his career in produce quality systems after attending the former agricultural Wye College in Kent (University of London) and gaining a Quality Lead Assessor accreditation in ISO 9001/9002 (BS5750).

2018 FoodService Dragons

Sharon Linney

Having studied a degree in hotel and catering management, Sharon began her career as a graduate trainee, working for the Inner London Education Authority in the Education Catering Department. Working in a variety of roles throughout her six years, Sharon enjoyed working in Unit Management, Food Development and Training. Latterly Sharon managed the foodservice provision to school children in two London Boroughs.Moving on into the commercial world of contract catering, Sharon joined Aramark where she worked for 20 years, working mainly in Business and Industry with a short period in healthcare as an Operations Manager. After Aramark, Sharon did a variety of roles, including working for a national training company, as well as working for the multi-award winning social enterprise company — The Create Foundation. Sharon went on to work as the Operations Director for bartlett mitchell, then a small B&I caterer, and later the Brookwood Partnership Company, a specialist contract caterer providing foodservice within the education sector.In August 2016 Sharon joined the CH&Co Group as Operations Director for Lusso, a boutique contract caterer in London. Sharon now heads up a team of Operations Managers to look after client business and her role includes recruitment, development and training, succession planning, supporting business development and company growth strategies.

Graham Eveleigh

Graham Eveleigh is Head of Skills Development for BaxterStorey, the UK’s largest independent foodservice provider. Graham works across the UK, Ireland and Europe overseeing a large team of trainers who run extensive in-house training and development programmes through a series of highly-valued and award-winning academies.

Graham trained as a chef later in life at Leith’s School of Food and Wine. He went on to head up the kitchen at a large law firm in London, before becoming Executive Chef for Leith’s contract division, and later heading up food services at Holroyd Howe.

When Holroyd Howe was acquired by WSH in 2006, Graham moved across to BaxterStorey. He has been instrumental in developing training programmes that span learning and development needs at all levels, and received the Foodservice Catey award for Training in 2014.

Matt Wood

Matt forms part of the executive team at Restaurant Associates, which offers fine dining, employee dining and inspiring events solutions, among other services. He recently moved into a strategic partnership role from the operations side of the business, having been Head of Operations for Restaurant Associates since 2015.

During his tenure in operations, Matt successfully mobilised, managed and developed catering services for industry leading corporate clients, and, as such, he was recognised with a 2015 Foodservice Catey award for Regional Manager of the Year.

Restaurant Associates is part of Compass Group, the world’s leading foodservice organisation, which Matt joined in 2009 as an Operations Manager with responsibility for a number of industry leading national accounts.

Food and service is part of Matt’s DNA. Since studying Hotel Management at the University of New Hampshire in the USA some 20 years ago, he has held a number of high-profile operational roles at 5-star hotels and restaurants, including the Grosvenor House on London’s Park Lane and the Harbour Club in Chelsea.
Matt’s passion is people development and he thrives on having had the opportunity to engage with people in this respect throughout his career. He actively embraces apprenticeship programmes as a mentor, and has worked with a number of charitable organisations, such as City Academy Hackney, Second Chance and Action on Disability.

Whilst Matt is conscious that these initiatives promote positive corporate responsibility messaging, his personal rationale for engagement is simply to do the right thing for the community. Through his engagement with Action on Disability Matt was thrilled to be able to offer full-time employment to a young man with learning difficulties, and he is truly inspired by watching him develop.

For more information, and to sign up to face the Dragons, email: [email protected]