Phil Roberts manages and runs Jockey Club Catering, who provide the hospitality services for Cheltenham Racecourse's 20 restaurants. In the lead up to their biggest event of the year, Cheltenham Festival, which hosts over a quarter of a million racegoers, Roberts chats to Ally Head about Cheltenham's atmosphere, why his brother inspired his career and how his team are working hard to make it their best year yet.
Did anything inspire you in your childhood to want to go into catering?
I followed my older brother into catering. He was always an incredible pastry chef. I studied for three years at Loughborough University, then worked for Town & County Catering at Wimbledon, South London. While I was there, I completed four championships. It all went from there!
What do you think is special about Cheltenham Racecourse? What distinguishes it from the other racecourses around the country?
Cheltenham is the home of National Hunt racing. Nothing compares to Cheltenham Festival. The atmosphere, the excitement, the anticipation and the history of the event. It's an incredibly special racecourse and event.
Are you excited for the upcoming Cheltenham Festival? What will make this one more special than previous years?
The team and I are all incredibly excited about this year's festival [on the 14 - 17 March]. While we don't have a new grandstand to open this year, we think the improvements made across site will make for the best ever festival.
What career advice would you give to others?
Commitment, hard work, dedication, passion and most importantly fun. You must enjoy what you do. Never be afraid to try new ideas and always say thank you.
What have you learnt about the industry during your time as regional director?
Jockey Club Catering really is an incredible place to work. We have some of the most imaginative and creative chefs from across the world, supported by some incredibly loyal and dedicated team members. I consider it a privilege to lead such a team.