Tony Jardella, head chef, Perry & Blackwelder Original Smokehouse believes that having a concept that stands out on the market is the key to success
Describe your first ever role in the F&B industry?
When I was 13 years old, I worked as a kitchen porter in the evenings and at weekends. I loved the job and was praised for my speed and work ethic. Within a year I had impressed my executive chef, Jacques Eza, a French chef who previously worked at the Savoy Hotel in London. He took me under his wing and taught me old-school cooking techniques and enrolled me in college, where I did an apprenticeship to become a chef.
Who has inspired you most in your career?
During my level three City & Guilds apprenticeship, my tutor, Bernie Pascoe, was a great inspiration. He was a well-known food critic in London, the owner of three restaurants and a tutor at my campus. I went on to work for Bernie a year after I completed my professional cookery course – he inspired me to travel, see the world and to never stop learning.
How do you view the F&B scene in the Middle East?
Dubai is a tight market of restaurants, hotels and eateries. With hundreds opening each year, you can find almost any type of food quite easily. I think your concept is important as it defines what you are and why people should try your restaurant over the next. Equally important, is offering the best of the best in terms of food, service and guest satisfaction to create a good level of repeat business.
What is the biggest challenge of your role?
Normally the obvious answer here would be staffing, but I am truly blessed with a great team who are so eager to learn and follow the high standards set for them. Morale and making sure people get their say and input is important for any good team. Their ideas are an important part of sharing success.
What is the best aspect of your role?
Developing the menu is the most fun part of my Job. I love cooking up ideas over and over until we reach perfection and originality, then preparing these for staff and management teams for tastings. The menu at P&B is now the biggest it has ever been. Another aspect I love is the job satisfaction I get from serving customers with great feedback and teamwork.
What tip would you share with new staff starting out in the F&B industry in the region?
Take off your watch and don’t count the time. Hard work is always rewarded so try your best. I don’t mind if you make a mistake but you have to learn from each one.
Sept 2015 – Present: Head chef, Perry & Blackwelder’s, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai
Jan 2013 – Sept 2015: Executive chef, Yankees American Restaurants, Cyprus
July 2011-Dec 2013: Head chef, Artios, Cyprus