In this special series, Produce Business UK takes a look at how some of the food industry’s most high-profile figures have come to be in their current positions and learn about their highlights along the way. Our first career spotlight starts with Nigel Boschetti, executive chef of the five-star Grosvenor House hotel in Mayfair, London, who has been in the food industry for 35 years
Chef: Nigel Boschetti
Position: Executive chef of the five-star Grosvenor House hotel, Mayfair, London
Role: Overseeing 70 chefs over four restaurants or event rooms, including meeting rooms, banqueting and conference suites
Time at post: Six years
Career length to date: 35 years
How did you first get into the industry?
Nigel Boschetti (NB): I always wanted to be in hotel catering, even though at that the time around 35 years ago, the industry was not fashionable. That didn’t put me off though and after one or two jobs, I was finally offered an apprenticeship at the Carlton Tower Hotel, where on a day release basis I completed my City & Guilds certificates at Ealing College, now known as the University of West London.
Tell us about your career path to date:
NB: After my apprenticeship at the Carlton Tower, I went on to a demi chef position at the Intercontinental Hotel’s Le Souffle Restaurant. I was lucky that both these hotels held Michelin stars, which was rare in those days. I then started work at the Grosvenor House for the first time, when a chef de partie position became available in the 90 Park Lane restaurant.
I then took a sous chef position at the Mayfair Hotel, which progressed to executive sous chef. This led to my first head chef role at Amberley Castle and from there I took the head chef position at Simpsons in the Strand, then executive chef at the Millennium Gloucester, followed by the same role title at the Royal Lancaster. After five years as executive chef at the Royal Lancester, I was offered my current role back at the Grosvenor House hotel.
What does your job involve now?
NB: Where do I begin? The role is very comprehensive and encompasses many parts of the hotel. I am responsible for all the hotel’s food outlets, which include JW Steakhouse, The Park Room, In Room Dining and the Executive Lounge. I also oversee banqueting and private dining, which includes the Great Room with a capacity for seated events up to 2,000 covers, the Ballroom (up to 550 covers), 28 meeting rooms and the Court Suite of up to 120 covers. I oversee a team of 70 chefs with responsibility for payroll, food cost and, of course, food safety.
What have been your career highlights?
NB: There have been many, starting off with being fortunate enough to train in two of London’s best restaurants of the time. Other highlights include achieving my first AA rosettes at Amberley Castle, as well as being highly recommended with Egon Ronay and the Ackerman guides. Judging the Bush Banquet in South Africa for three years running and overseeing a British Food promotion in New York also meant a lot to me. But the greatest achievement was being given the opportunity to run the kitchens at Grosvenor House and catering for industry leaders, stars and celebrities from the world of music, film and sport, to name but a few.
What advice would you give anyone wanting to get into your sector?
NB: Be dedicated, prepared to work hard but most important of all have a great attitude. If you do all of these things, anything can happen, believe me!