The same day Jai Lovett qualified to be a chef, he applied for, and was accepted, into Compass Group’s Offshore and Remote casual pool. From there, and over the next five years, Jai’s career has continued to soar, and he now leads the team as Unit Manager at Bay Village in Karratha, a city in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
Jai, whose family is from Wiradjuri Country in central NSW, grew up in Nanda Country in Western Australia. At 18 and while living in small country town Kalbarri, he did what many 18-year-olds do and got a casual kitchen hand job at a local pub. With no aspirations to be a chef when first starting, after a few years in hospitality, he uncovered a love for cooking.
Like many chefs at Compass Group, Jai has gained experience across multiple sites. Starting at the Remote site of Capricorn Village, he moved to larger mine site Mulla Mulla and then onto Bay Village where he was promoted to Sous Chef and assisted with the mobilisation of the new site.
“The part I enjoy most about being a chef is the team environment. It doesn’t matter the size, structure or venue of a kitchen operation, you will always find the kitchen is built on comradeship and friendship,” shares Jai. “Working as a chef at Compass Group is different to anywhere else as you get to learn new things, develop culinary skills, look after budgets, learn diverse ordering, manage the stock and develop your team. It was great to build these skills, skills that I certainly didn’t have when I started and it’s a testament to Compass Group producing such well-rounded chefs.”
Promoted to Chef Manager, Jai was responsible for mobilising new camp, Yangibana, from the ground up and over 18 months, he was an integral part of not only the operation of the camp, but the contract management which gave him exposure and insight that few Chef Managers are able to get.
“We were the first boots on the ground and we built it all,” he shares. “It was incredible to be involved in something like that, to take ownership and responsibility of what we built, and see it evolve in front of our eyes.”
Having gained the experience of managing teams, budgets and client relationships from this project, Jai was promoted to Unit Manager, back at his old stomping grounds of Bay Village, where he now leads the large team.
“Every day that I go to work, whether it’s meeting someone new or working with and training the team, my purpose is always to nurture others, to help them be the best they can be so we can work together to achieve our goals.”
As a First Nations person, Jai enjoys celebrating NAIDOC Week and says his team loves to be involved in recognising and acknowledging the week.
“Any business can celebrate NAIDOC Week, but in my culinary team, we speak and we celebrate through food. We cook with native ingredients, follow native recipes and champion the traditional flavours.”
Jai encourages everyone to learn more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, culture and history this NAIDOC Week and beyond.
“Take time to truly learn what NAIDOC is and learn about the importance and history of the traditional custodians of the land you live and work on. What was their significance, what did they achieve, what language did they speak – this is how you can truly celebrate NAIDOC Week and First Nations peoples of Australia.”
Learn more about the Traditional Custodians of the country you’re on by viewing the Map of Indigenous Australia here.
Read more about how Compass Group Australia is closing the gap for First Nations people in Australia and what we plan to achieve moving forward in our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) 2022 – 2025.