A one-day diary from a dawn espresso to a well-earned glass of red wine
Alan Lucas is Executive Chef of the Concerto Group and Create, running a number of fast-paced kitchens around the capital and orchestrating some of London’s finest event catering to discerning guests, venues and clients - all whilst keeping his finger on the pulse of London’s eclectic restaurant scene.
I tend to wake up relatively early, already thinking about what I have to do that day and writing a mental list whilst having an espresso (double shot over the Christmas event season!). The dawn chorus of emails usually starts as early as 5am so it’s crucial to keep on top of order confirmations, invoices and delivery times. Luckily, I have a very solid team at Create, a lot of whom have been with me for years, so everything happens in a very regimented process. If things do go awry, my morning usually involves a second espresso!
My brigade of up to 50 chefs will arrive for work around 7am. The first thing I will do is check the kitchen and warehouse for any wear and tear, the last thing you need when you are flat out and creating 8,000 covers is for the gas to go down or for my ovens to lose power. The Create central kitchen was newly custom-built in 2007 and I’m very protective of it!
My day tends to go very quickly from here, catching up on paperwork, organising trips to suppliers and answering questions from the sales, warehouse and operations teams on the logistics of upcoming events. We usually have a couple of tastings going on in the day. This is a huge part of our business so I will always make an appearance in the tasting room and chat about my favourite subject… food!
By now I am a bit peckish so I can’t resist taking a peek at what the chefs have got planned for staff lunch. I have been known to change everything at the last minute because I feel like fajitas! There are seldom complaints from the office though, as you can imagine!
By 2pm vans start to leave for evening events, so the kitchen steps up a gear to ensure all their prep lists are finished before they begin the journey across London to our many venues. This is when our chefs take the opportunity to have a quick nap on the tube and recharge their batteries! I pay a visit to as many evening events as I can, it’s my favourite part of the job. I love seeing everyone’s efforts come together to such a high standard.
The day usually ends around 11pm and I like to unwind with a glass of red wine and plan my weekends - namely which restaurants I am going to eat at and how much sleep I can catch up on!