Compass Group, the global leader in food and support services, is celebrating Chef Appreciation Week this week on 10 -16 September. In the world’s largest global culinary celebration, we pay tribute to the thousands of trained chefs who play such an important role in our global business.
Launched in 2013 and hosted by Compass Group, Chef Appreciation Week is a global platform for customers, colleagues and local communities to come together and celebrate both the power of food and the people who dedicate their lives to feeding millions every day.
The theme of this year’s campaign is ‘Great people inspire great food,’ as we want to shine a spotlight on the people behind the incredible food we create each and every day. From the local sourcing supporters, food distribution heroes to the social value pioneers, charity champions, wellness ambassadors, we say thank you to our chefs and frontline teams for the amazing work they do.
In honour of the week, we celebrate Brendan Byrne, Head Chef with Restaurant Associates, for his service and dedication to supporting others.
Baking Bonds of Hope: Spotlight on Brendan Byrne, Head Chef
Joining Compass Group Australia in 2015, Head Chef Brendan Byrne, started as a Chef de Partie at the same site where he would become Head Chef several years later. Leading the team at his site, a fast-paced kitchen with many VIP guests, Brendan’s passion is always ensuring and maintaining the highest standards of service. This includes constant communication amongst the different teams for upcoming high-end events on top of the day-to-day running of food service.
“What I enjoy most about being a Chef in Compass Group is the freedom to create menus seasonally and bespoke menus when called for,” shares Brendan. “This keeps our kitchen staff working with new techniques and styles, and of course, keeping up to date with current trends in the culinary scene.”
People-centric, Brendan supports many of his team to achieve their goals. Multiple members of his team have moved from kitchenhands to become qualified Chefs and Sous Chefs.
Paul Gordon, National Executive Chef and Brendan’s Manager says this focus on developing his people is key to Brendan’s success.
“Brendan’s own journey has helped him see how important it is to offer people opportunities to grow,” shares Paul. “The trust his team have in him as a leader is evident. I am very proud of the way Brendan guides his staff and identifies skill sets in them and helps develop those areas and more.”
Passionate about supporting others and those in need, Brendan was at the forefront of his site’s relationship with The Bread & Butter Project, a social enterprise that provides training and employment pathways for people seeking refuge and asylum, who aspire to become bakers.
Brendan oversaw the implementation and growth of ‘Fresh Loave’ Thursdays, selling whole loaves of Bread & Butter bread through their café spaces, also incorporating them into event menus. He also initiated the apprenticeship program where Bread & Butter trainees learn from their site’s Pastry Chef, receiving exposure to restaurant-style pastry techniques. A valuable experience for all involved, Chef’s shared knowledge and gave trainees a glimpse of other cooking styles and kitchens.
On why working with The Bread & Butter Project is important to Brendan, he saw the rewards as two-fold. “Along with the high standard of their products, working with them gives us the opportunity to invest in the baking industry is a very unique way, their incredible effort in training, TAFE accreditation and further support for trainees is invaluable help for those involved.”
This partnership with The Bread & Butter Project goes beyond the job for Brendan, it’s the impact it has on the people seeking refuge and asylum. “Moving to Australia is a fresh start for the trainees of the program,” shares Brendan. “Any help we can provide them to get ahead may be a small part of our lives but means the world to them.”
Thank you to Brendan and all our chefs at Compass Group Australia for helping us serve a better future.
Read more about our People here.