IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Phil is cooking up a storm

Phil Ervine. Picture: Michael Burch

IN THE SPOTLIGHT this week is Phil Ervine, co-founder of Taste & Tour, a specialist in award-winning, local food and drink offerings and tours.

What was your first job?

Carrying out property viewings for an estate agency in my purple Ford Fiesta with a mountain of printed Google Maps on my passenger seat as I have a terrible sense of direction.

What qualifications do you have?

I have a BA honours degree in interactive media production from Bournemouth University which was heavily focused on social media before social media really became the monster it is today.

What do you attribute your success to?

Growing up in a family of entrepreneurs definitely changed my attitude to risk and taking calculated risks is essentially the basis of any business.

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

Big hair, friendly, fun, sarcastic and will probably hug you.

Who do you look up to in business?

Judith Owens MBE, chief executive of TBL International & Titanic Belfast.She is an absolute force of nature and what she’s achieved for tourism in Belfast and Northern Ireland is unbelievable. She’s also a first-class public speaker.

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

For me it’s about treating my colleagues with respect and always encouraging and listening to ideas. I also rarely say no.

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

It would have to be to change the liquor licensing laws to encourage more small, licensed venues to pop up across towns and cities in Northern Ireland, enriching the hospitality offering we have here.

What website or app could you not do without?

I use WhatsApp every single day for both personal and business, but to be honest I hate it - distractions, distractions, distractions.

What was the last book you read?

Storyworthy by Matthew Dicks - a book all about the power of storytelling.

What car do you drive?

Depending on the scenario… a Ford S-Max for my three kids and all their crumbs and a BMW 128ti for my other trips!

Tell us something interesting about yourself?

I have 150 cookbooks but have only cooked from about 40 of them. They look lovely in my kitchen though and are colour coordinated thanks to my wife Cathy.

What’s your greatest passion outside work and family?

Cooking. I love cooking for family and friends and have five BBQs because I am approaching that age where grilling things becomes your life.