A warm welcome to The Geoffrey Harrison Foundation website.
I have been lucky enough to have spent my working life in the hospitality industry. It has provided me with a wide range of experiences that eventually led me to step away from being employed to start up my own food service company, Harrison Catering Services, which now employs approximately 2,000 people.
I would like to share with you some of my key inspirations throughout the years.
- My love of food began at home with my mother always providing the family with a home-cooked meal, from fresh ingredients bought on a tight budget, which we enjoyed at a dining table.
- At catering college, some truly inspirational lecturers gave me the opportunity to develop the craft skills needed to gain full-time employment as a chef. I then honed these skills in a number of kitchens.
- I was for some time a senior catering manager at Ford Motor Company, with a team of 114, serving approximately 3,000 people daily. It taught me the importance of delivering. Every aspect of the catering service had a direct impact for Ford and its workforce. Developing strong industrial relations and an understanding of this highly-efficient company broadened my commercial skills beyond just cooking.
- Then I made a complete change, moving into a sales role and selling a catering service to potential clients. This provided a totally different perspective, with a focus on looking at what the customer sees, as well as the chef’s view from the kitchen. There were no prizes for coming second!
- The knowledge and experience I gained in these various roles enabled me to start my own company in 1994. The company was founded on my own values of fresh, quality food, prepared with care, at a competitive price, and these values still hold the same importance more than 25 years on.
Having enjoyed a lifelong career in this rewarding industry, I decided, with the support of Harrison’s directors, to establish the Foundation in order to help young people with an interest in catering to benefit from the kinds of opportunities afforded to me.
The hospitality industry has great scope to provide young people with a set of transferrable skills that can be used throughout the world. To those who have the desire to learn, I recommend you grab the opportunities with both hands. It will be one of your best decisions.