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!

2019 Produce Dragons

Christopher Mack

 

Fresh produce runs in the genes of the Mack family, and Chris is the fourth generation of his family to join and lead the business, with Fresca Group – which comprises a group of companies with combined sales of over £460 million – ranking as one of the UK’s leading fresh produce organisations.

Chris graduated from Wye College with a degree in Environmental Sciences before working as an assistant farm manager at Essex Fruit Farms. The pull of produce trading was too hard to resist, however, and he started working for the family company Mack at the wholesale market in Bristol, where he sold the topfruit (apples and pears)he’d been growing previously.

From there, Chris moved to Mack’s site at Paddock Wood; helping to build the company’s trading business with the supermarkets. He became managing director in 1988. When his father retired, Chris became executive chairman for the company. Under his leadership, the business expanded through acquisition, and he created the parent company Fresca Group to control the group’s interests.

Together with its grower partners, 10 years ago Fresca opened Thanet Earth in Kent – the UK’s most ambitious greenhouse complex for the production of salad crops. Fresca has since continued to invest strategically back down the supply chain into fresh produce production, both at home and abroad.

Known for his entrepreneurial approach and bold decisions, Chris is a willing spokesperson for the industry and is well-respected in the retail world. He has been rewarded with a lifetime achievement award at the ReFresh Awards, and continues to work as a board member of the Waitrose Foundation.

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.

Sarah Trowbridge

 

As HR Director, Sarah has worked at Total Produce for the last 10 years. She focuses on the retail side of the business in the UK at Total Worldfresh, whose team of Account, Procurement, Technical Managers in Kent work to supply retailers such as The Co-Operative, Marks and Spencer and Morrisons with fresh soft fruit, stone fruit and top fruit sourced from around the world. Sarah’s 25-year generalist HR career started in Fresh Produce, with a 10-year gap when she worked in consumer packaging.

Karen Sharples

 

Total Produce is one of the world’s largest fresh produce providers, ranking as the market leader in Europe and North America, and with an increasingly prominent presence across the globe. Karen joined Total Produce UK in 2014 as the HR Director for the Wholesale Division, which is divided into three sectors: Markets, Foodservice and Imports. Karen and her team support 1,300 employees covering 21 locations spread across the UK. Karen’s HR career extends over 30 years, working in the Fresh Produce, Manufacturing, Services, Logistics and FMCG industries.


2019 FoodService Dragons

Carol Borhani

 

Carol joined Angel HR in 1985, working her way up to become a company director in 1996. A long-time food and wine enthusiast, she initially qualified as a chef and ran a French bistro in Texas, the USA, before entering the recruitment industry. With over 30 years’ food and drink experience, Carol’s sector knowledge is unsurpassed, enabling her to mentor young professionals and to support aspiring candidates as they develop successful catering and hospitality careers. Encompassing branches across England, Carol says the Angel HR team is ideally placed to match great people, at all levels, with great companies every day.

David Cole

 

David is the Head of Catering at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), and also for private dining company ‘Dinner at Yours’, which caters for private and corporate events, as well as staff dining in the workplace.

During his career, David has worked in various 5-star establishments in London, including the Ritz Casino and the luxury hotel InterContinental London Park Lane. He has also worked for Richard Branson and for Barclays bank in the role of Executive Chef.

David has cooked for many celebrities and dignitaries over the years, including Her Majesty the Queen on the opening of the British Library in London.

David also spent five years in Australia running his own events catering company, during which time he cooked for Lady Diana Spencer on one of her visits to the country.

In 1997, David returned to the UK to run his own successful office delivery company, before joining the LSHTM.


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.

For more information, and to sign up to face the Dragons, email: joinus@freshcareersfair.co.uk