In the Spotlight: Board sports and Bond for chef Dave

In the High Flyers spotlight this week is Dave Graham, executive chef at Around Noon

Simon Graham

What was your first job?

I was at college working on a City & Guilds Catering qualification and did a few weeks of work experience in a local restaurant. I enjoyed the job so much that I left college and went straight into working as a full time chef. After a few years, I went back to college one day a week to finish the qualification.

What do you attribute your success to?

Attention to detail. I remember my father telling me that there is always someone better. This is true so it’s what drives me every day. Looking at every element of a task and being satisfied that you have done your best is all one can ask.

How would you describe yourself to someone who’d never met you?

Hard work! No really, I would say I’m passionate and enthusiastic.

Who do you look up to in business?

While I was growing up, both of my parents had their own businesses. They would work hard and were very well respected in their area of expertise. The one thing that they did very well was always allowing quality time for the family. Weekends were always fun and action packed, so I’d say both my parents would share my admiration in this respect.

How do you get the best out of people who work for you?

Rolling my sleeves up and giving a practical demonstration. I like people to buy in and take ownership of a project. This drives passion and interest. Making decisions is the only true freedom in life and sharing this builds confidence.

If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland, what would it be?

I have travelled a fair bit with my career and the quality and passion of small businesses in Northern Ireland is world class in comparison, even with the larger volume of hoops we seem to have to jump through. I would ask everyone to buy/source local provenance as much as possible.

What website or app could you not do without?

Facebook and the Weather Channel.

What was the last book you read?

“Ignore the Fear” by Fiona Quinn. This is the story of one woman’s paddle-boarding adventure from Land’s End to John O’Groats. Its an amazing and inspirational read about Fiona’s journey, from someone that is afraid of the ocean.

What car do you drive?

Mercedes E Class Coupe

Tell us something interesting about yourself?

I would consider myself a James Bond fan. I have attended a premier of every Daniel Craig Bond movie wearing a black tie.

What’s your greatest passion outside work and family?

Board sports. I am a paddle-board instructor, I ride electric skateboards, and I have been throwing myself down a mountain on a snowboard and surfing on the west coast of Ireland for nearly 30 years. These are soul searching sports and I feel they put all of life’s issues and worries into perspective.


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