Dreaming big at Pen Y Bont Farm

Head Chef Jim Davison joined Marston’s a year ago with big plans for the new-build Pen Y Bont Farm.

“We opened aiming to get through our first year meeting – and even beating – our targets,” said Jim, one of the six finalists of last year’s Chef of the Year competition.

The team’s put our Ways of Working at the heart of everything it does, and the people and opportunities Jim’s enjoyed over the past months have made him all the more determined to mentor the wealth of talent and passion he’s seen to make Pen Y Bont Farm ‘The Place to Be’.

“My manager, Stephen Newman, inspires me with his can-do attitude and focus on developing people –it’s part and parcel of joining our team. And I want to do the same, so my team members have the opportunity to grow and hone their professional skills and reach their goals too.


Learning and qualifications

“All of our fulltime teammates have their Continuing Professional Development book, which we work through to develop their skills. By the end of level one, it means they’re proficient in most aspects of our business, have a recognised accreditation and can go on to higher levels of learning and qualifications too.

“Developing people doesn’t just apply to their own specific role. I didn’t know how the tills worked, so Stephen arranged for me to go for EPOS training. Now we’re over our first 12 months, I’m looking forward to finding out exactly what my teammates want from their role and helping them achieve it.


Help and encouragement

“I’m excited as I’ll have more time to spend with them, giving all the help and encouragement I can – whether that’s to our upcoming chefs or the rest of the team. I’ll be helping anyone who wants to  prepare for and enter next year’s Chef of the Year competition, by sharing my experience, giving them time to practice coming up with a dish using specific ingredients they’ve been given, working on their food presentation or helping them gain confidence.

“We don’t just dream big here; we’re friends, which means we work together and care about each other too. There’s a team Facebook page, which is mostly about social things. It keeps it fun – you don’t come to work to be miserable! We celebrate together too, with incentives, and Stephen will buy us a drink at the end of a good day to say ‘thank you’.


Learning from our mistakes

“On the rare occasion when things go wrong – maybe the odd meal gets sent back – I’ll sit everyone down to discuss what happened, and come up with ways to learn from it and do better next time.

“We’re really big on customer service. Being a Rotisserie site means the kitchen team spends time in the restaurant as well. We make the most of it to get to know our regulars and build a good rapport with them. It makes them feel like part of our ‘family’ and they often come back to see us,” Jim added.

“We work together all the time, to support and challenge each other and to improve the service and experience we offer our customers,” he said. “So everything we do ties back in with our Ways of Working,” said Jim, who’s so proud of them he used the icons to decorate the beautiful menu he created as part of his Chef of the Year competition entry.


Bank of talent

“I think our Ways of Working are a great guide for us all! As Head Chef, they really help me drive a great work ethic and environment in my team that everyone wants to be part of,” he said.

“The bank of talent we’ve got at Marston’s is phenomenal! The Chef of the Year competition was a totally different experience for me and my goal now is to mentor my team so they can take part themselves next year.”

 “We set out dreaming big right from the start and, as a team, we’re working to be the best we can be, always aiming to exceed our customers’ expectations.”

Hear more from Jim by watching the short film below…


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