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Executive Development Chef

Case Study

Catherine has always been passionate about food, even at an early age she wanted to create the best dishes in her home economics classes at school and get noticed for her creations. She says “while the other students were making fairy cakes, I was making a fresh prawn ring!! I would bake at home and use my peers as Guinea pigs…although I don’t think they minded the free treats!” After graduating as a qualified chef from catering college at the age of 19, Catherine worked in various hotels in the Midlands before taking a career break to raise her two children. In 2005, Catherine started working for Chartwells as a unit-based chef before progressing to become a unit manager and now is an executive development chef where she is able to share her skills in food development with the wider culinary team.

Catherine says, “I have always been supported by my manager, and additional learning is always available and actively encouraged. The highlight of my job is being able to make a difference, producing great food and motivating the teams I work with.”Catherine adds “Women need the right support and encouragement to be recognised in a male dominated environment and with good mentors, experience in the industry and attending events this can really boost motivation. It is really important to never give up, even when times are hard and the long hours are tough because the end results are amazing and worth it. I believe the feeling of accomplishing something is incredible and will last a lifetime in this career”


Catherine is an Ambassador of Compass Group UK & Ireland’s Women in Food programme, created to support the careers and development of our female chefs across the business

Catherine Smith, Executive Development Chef, Chartwells North