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Essential Cuisine

Meet our team

Meet ourTeam

With over 180 years of combined experience in working kitchens, no ones understands the challenges that chefs face better than our brigade. Made up of 12 passionate chefs, each one has their own unique experience of being a chef in the heat! Hover over each of our chefs to discover a little something about each one and feel free to get in touch, no query is too big or small for our experienced brigade!

Our chefs

Jon Harvey-Barnes
Biggest issue affecting the industry? And what can be done? The skills shortage. As an industry, we need to put more effort into recruiting young people and then retaining them.
Jon Harvey-Barnes
Senior Business Development Chef
Robin Dudley
Biggest inspiration in your career? Andrew Turner.
Robin Dudley
Business Development Chef
James Circuit
Longest shift pulled? Probably about 36 hours. When I was with the England team, I did 48 hours straight because you had to prepare the cold platters and we just kept going all night.
James Circuit
Business Development Chef
Guy Norton
Biggest inspiration in your career? I’ve got to say [Essential Cuisine founder] Nigel Crane. He’s always been so very passionate about what we do. I’ve always thought he’s fantastic.
Guy Norton
National Account Manager
Howard Beasley
What advice would you give to a young chef just starting out in the industry? Work in kitchens where they’re still cooking. Learn the basics, learn how to work with fresh ingredients and taste absolutely everything!
Howard Beasley
National Sales Manager
Mark Wickens
Tell us something we didn’t know about you? I can speak Swedish!
Mark Wickens
Business Development Manager - South East
Rees Smith
Hidden talent? I can throw most items in the bin even if it’s about 20 foot away!
Rees Smith
Business Development Manager - South East
Gary Kilminster
The kitchen’s on fire, what’s the first thing you take? Kettle – I’d need a nice cup of tea!
Gary Kilminster
Business Development Manager - South West
Ben Kaye
Bucket list foodie experience? I have a fair few! I want to dine at Noma, The Fat Duck, The Hand & Flowers, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay and El Celler de Can Roca.
Ben Kaye
Business Development Manager - North West
Rob Hamilton
Hidden talent? I can do a lot of accents.
Rob Hamilton
Business Development Manager - North West
Ronnie Smith
Favourite EC product? Mushroom Glace. Just for its sheer versatility.
Ronnie Smith
Casual Dining Manager
Chris Dickinson
If I wasn’t a chef, I would be… A Rockstar.
Chris Dickinson
Innovation Development Chef

Our key contacts

Mark Tinner
Share one of your favourite restaurants: The Dina Hotel restaurant in Mauritius – the Mauritian Curry is amazing!
Mark Tinner
Head of Foodservice Sales
Karim Ghazanfar
What is your signature dish? Ooooh... venison haunch steak, game jus (made with port, red wine, premier veal jus shallots and finished with game glacé) served with parsnip purée, pomme fondant, glazed chantennay carrots, and crispy kale.
Karim Ghazanfar
Business Development Manager
Ben Forbes
What’s your favourite EC product? Our Asian Aromatic base, not only did this product win the prestigious 2018 Chef’s Choice Award, it’s also really versatile - it makes a fantastic addition to our No.1 gravy for a contemporary twist!
Ben Forbes
Head of Marketing

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