The WB team recently caught up with culinary alumni Tim Darton to talk all things food, and find out how life has been after graduation.
So Tim remind us, what course did you graduate from?
I graduated first from the culinary program, then went on to complete a Bachelor of Business.
After graduating from William Blue, what direction did your career go in?
Well, for me, going on to study the business degree was the first step in opening my own business. I knew it was going to be food related because for me, cooking has always been a part of my life. It started early with me cooking and baking biscuits as a child with my grandma, and from that point ive always loved food.
So after graduation, I worked at a number of establishments, with highlights definitely having to be my time spent at Flying Fish and Pikan Catering.
Wow! That sounds like you had a pretty clear vision for which direction you wanted to head in which is great!
From there you went on to open your businesses, can you tell us more about that?
So after working for a while, building up my food knowledge and skills, I opened my two catering businesses with my partner Allie.
The first one is Paella Amor which is essentially a paella catering venture. The business specialized in paella parties, paella events, and tapas functions.
Our other business is Boardwalk catering. In contrast to Paella Amore, Boardwalk caters for more high scale, prestigious events. We do a lot of yacht work and are also heavily involved in the corporate sector, as well as weddings and large scale private events.
That’s super impressive that you have managed to build two successful businesses. It’s clear that you’re extremely passionate. What is it that you love so much about the catering industry?
My favourite part of the catering area of the hospitality industry is the fact that you’re dealing with so many people at once. In a restaurant, the chefs will only cook for a maximum of tables of 10, whereas in catering you’re generally cooking for around 200 people, in large scale cases even 2000, and so there’s a different type of pressure and I love that. The sense of adrenalin you get is like no other.
Okay so can you break down for us what a normal day for you is like with the businesses?
Sure. So my typical day usually starts at around 6:30am. Youll find me down at the local fish mongers grabbing all the produce we need for the day. From there, I’m normally in the kitchen between 7:30 and 8:00am and from there basically start prepping for the day. Because of the scale of the food we produce, the kitchen rides a super succinct list and we just prioritise and keep working until all tasks are complete.
It sounds like you run a very tight ship! Do you have any pet hates in the kitchen?
I definitely do. I have a couple of pet hates actually! Messy and unorganized kitchens, time wasting and staff sitting on the benches are huge, huge things for me. Basically I like my staff to work clean and efficient, and if you have time to sit on the bench then why am I paying you!!
On the other end of the spectrum, what is it about a successful service period that you love?
I guess, when I cook I’m just really happy, and this feeling is amplified when you get feedback after service that the customers really enjoyed what you prepared for them. That feeling of satisfaction just really get me and you can’t beat it.
Looking back now, how did studying with William blue shape you as a chef and business owner?
William Blue was my biggest supporter throughout my whole learning experience. A huge thing for me, was the opportunities provided with work placement. The program allowed me to experience a whole bunch of different, really nice restaurants and also allowed me to cut my teeth in areas that perhaps I wouldn’t have been able to do with a traditional apprenticeship.
Watch Tim’s full video: