Aoife Geary of Jobbio talks to The Gate owner Michael Daniel, here’s an extract from the interview…
Tell us about your role and how you got there.
My role as the owner is to oversee everything. I’m not involved with each person directly but my job is to inspire from the top down and guide the business as a whole.
The business really started when my brother found the space, he was looking to get into catering and he stumbled across the space by accident. It was available to rent and he phoned me up and said ‘Do you want to help me open up a restaurant?’ It was all a bit pie in the sky – like what the hell – yesterday we didn’t have a restaurant, today we’ve got a restaurant! We were making traditional vegetarian dishes – lasagne, curry, hummus – another 2 restaurants and 27 years later, here we are.
What’s been the biggest change for you in all that time?
I think the whole of society is different. From social media to Deliveroo there’s been a lot of changes in how we eat and experience food. 30 years ago people weren’t eating out like they do now. Today, if you’re under a certain age, you just don’t cook at home very often.
What are ‘must have’ qualities to work at the Gate?
A desire to grow. Why else are you in catering otherwise? When you work on our team that growth is possible at any level. Last week I walked in the kitchen and the guy who had been washing the dishes was serving food. That’s amazing! Our chefs have the ability to grow people but those people have to want it too.
What advice would you have for people looking to excel in the industry?
In catering, you really need to give all of yourself to succeed. It’s about really throwing yourself in and then being open to learning. That’s how you grow, that’s how you really excel. Find someone to be your mentor, that can help you grow.
I did it through modelling other people who had more experience and knowledge than me. You can achieve amazing things in the catering industry when you try.