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Interview with Rob Howell, Head Chef, Root, Wapping Wharf – Jobs Connect

We spoke to Rob Howell, Head Chef at Root in Wapping Wharf as part of the Moments Maker campaign, showcasing leading ‘hospitality careerists’ from our region talking candidly about their career path and why hospitality is such a rewarding and varied career choice for the long-term.

Moment Makers celebrates talent platform aimed at residents in the West of England finding their dream role in hospitality and tourism in the region.

How did you start out in hospitality?

I started out in hospitality aged 14 in Wells Cathedral café. I served teas, coffees and did some washing-up. I got to go on the tills once or twice. There was a weird small looming everywhere. I think it was a combination of food and the old cloisters of the cathedral.

Proudest career moment?

I was terrible at writing at school. I really struggled. So, the idea of writing a cookbook, like I have now, was absolutely mental. But it shows you what this career can bring.

On the playlist?

It’s never my playlist. I’m not allowed to play music here. I couldn’t name one single person on it to be honest. At home I listen to BBC Radio 2 and probably some musicals or something extremely uncool.

What does a great day in hospitality look like?

Just coming in, getting some nice food ready, having a great lunch that is always delicious. And then going home at a decent time, when you’ve achieved everything you wanted to in a day and also get to spend some time at home with the family.

Why is hospitality unique?

It’s that whole community feeling, the people around you - and not just at work, they become your friends and that is definitely the thing that keeps you going the most.

Jobs Connect

Meet Rob, Head Chef of Root - Moment Maker

Meet Rob Howell, Root's Head Chef in Bristol's Wapping Wharf and find out about his love of cooking and the hospitality sector.

How do you recruit a dream team?

I always ensure that we’re hiring people that are suited to the venue and suited to the rest of the team. One of my interview questions is: what was the last gig you went to or what was the last venue you went to? There’s no wrong answer to these questions, but it helps us gauge what kind of person this candidate is.

Who’s your industry mentor?

I wouldn’t say I’ve got one set industry mentor, but having worked in a few places over a few years, I think every manager I’ve worked under has helped teach me something else. I’ve still got all their phone numbers. I can go to them if I need to. I’d like to think my team have the same with me.

Why is West of England hospitality thriving right now?

We’ve got lots of independent bars and clubs and venues, as well as the sort of high street brand chains people know. We get a lot of tourists coming in as we are quite close to the continent. And it’s a great destination venue for UK holidaymakers.

How does Jobs Connect help with recruiting different types of roles?

We have lots of different roles to fill. When we do put out a usual ad for CVs everyone assumes its bar work, but this kind of platform helps us distinguish between different roles, whether they be on the bar or not.

What does being a Moment Maker mean to you?

So for me, being a moment maker is all about the customers that come to the live gigs. I really remember my first gig, how much I enjoyed it and being able to offer someone that experience at your place of work is a great feeling.

“I couldn’t think of anything else I’d want to do, to be honest”.

Rob Howell, Head Chef, Root, Wapping Wharf