Development chefs are the kitchen maestros that play an influential role in helping operators make vital decisions about their menus, processes and kitchens; the unsung heroes that know every single detail about the equipment their companies provide. As part of a special series celebrating their work, we will be catching up with a number of the UK’s top development chefs. Today, we meet Paul Hickman from Middleby UK…
Paul Hickman grew up on a small holding on the south coast of England, where his parents reared animals and grew crops. Even at a young age he knew the culinary life was for him, inspired by the hours he spent in the kitchen with his grandmothers learning how to cure meat, bake bread and make butter with cream from the dairy and preserves with produce from the garden.
After gaining his qualifications and working his way up the ranks in industrial catering, Paul joined Lincat as a chef demonstrator some 20 years ago and now serves as culinary director of Middleby UK Foodservice Group. He discusses why he loves to make equipment come alive, the supermarket foodservice project he will never forget and his involvement in a product launch with a difference.
What does a typical day entail for you?
Even after 20 years working for Lincat, no two days are the same! I rack up over 30,000 miles each year traveling between Lincat, Middleby UK and end-user sites to deliver product training and support on menu development. Each week I will usually land at Middleby UK and Lincat at some point! In addition to this, I play an integral role in product development at Lincat, so there are always products in development to provide input on.
Having recently been promoted to culinary UK director, I am now on a new and exciting path to deliver the Middleby 1 Culinary vision. Our goal is to deliver a culinary-driven, industry leading experience across all the Lincat and Middleby UK brands. Training the newly appointed Middleby 1 culinary team of eight chefs, which includes myself and Rob Fairhurst — who previously concentrated on Middleby UK only — and upgrading the showrooms and development kitchens to deliver this vision is a major focus for me at present.
You can read the full article and interview with Paul here.