So, you’d like to get to know us a little better?
Here’s a bit about the company …
Sussex Chef is all about good local food, creating food experiences, delivering high service standards and making sure our clients enjoy their journey with us. Started in 2012 by Ben on a tiny budget, Sussex Chef today is now one of the top event catering companies in Sussex, and is in high demand, catering for an entire range of sectors from family occassions such as weddings to corporate and contract catering events.
We always use as much good local produce as possible and go a little further for the rest.
We like to think our food is:
Made With Passion, Eaten With Pleasure
Now the really important bit, a business is after all is just a name, the people in it are the ones you need to get to know.
Meet the Team
Executive Chef and Proprietor
I only have few interests in life, cooking, looking after my family, colleagues, and clients.
Food is my biggest passion and I’d like to say that my cooking style is about selecting the best that is about, start locally and look a little further if you need to, make it taste great but make sure you can still recognise what your are eating on the plate.
Creative General Manager
What don’t I do, I’m the manager, I even get to cook sometimes! I make it my business to know the business. Since I joined back in the summer of 2016 I’ve been building on the foundations that Ben and Clare have built and I am taking every opportunity to make the Sussex Chef experience better each day and having lots of fun doing it.
Tim is a veteran chef of over 30 years. Since Ben started Sussex Chef, he’s had his eye on Tim for the position of Head Chef. Finally, Tim joined the Sussex Chef team in the summer of 2017. Tim is so passionate about cooking and dedicated to his profession. He is a welcome addition to the team!
I started in January 2017, I look after clients and put together their quotations, I help plan people’s events and help them make the best choices personalised to their requirements. I am a big foodie and a fitness fanatic I run ultra-marathons and races for fun, nutrition is a big part of my life so I am often part of the menu planning for our contract catering services.
Annabelle studied culinary arts in Turkey before returning home to work with at Sussex Chef. She aspires to own a cafe one day soon, serving a a mixture of Turkish and British cuisine with a big focus on delicious gluten free food. In fact, Annabelle makes one of the best gluten free breads we’ve ever tasted!
Business Management Support
I have supported Ben in his business from the start in 2012. I am very proud to say that together we have built Sussex Chef up to be one of the top leading catering companies of choice in Sussex and the South East of England.
Visual design, presentation, process implementation and critical analysis are my main skill sets.
In 2017 I stepped down from my role as our executive manager to go on maternity and will now be in the background offering staff support and advice.
The Sussex Chef Story
Sussex Chef began in 2012, by Ben Horle and his supportive wife Clare.
We started out by borrowing some money out of Ben’s parent’s pension pot and bought a catering trailer, 4×4 and fridge trailer, set up our office at home and set about cooking some of the finest meals from Ben’s repertoire – out of what looked like a burger van. Ben and Clare were overjoyed at the arrival of their son Joe on the 22nd May 2012, it was a Tuesday. Our first catering job was for a Lord and Lady 5 days later on Sunday, a bit of a baptism by fire! All went well and so started the journey.
The trailer must have been the only burger van with a 5 star hygiene rating and such high-tech cooking equipment in it in the country. It had all the toys that the big restaurants had; Vac pack machine, Sous Vide (water bath) to name a couple (the kind of thing you see on master Chef).
Using the best local ingredients and serving in a smart, attentive yet discreet manner Sussex Chef became very popular and the trailer soon had to go – things were getting busy!
Then we moved indoors! Hurray no more defrosting the tap with the blow torch!
The space we rented was originally an old laboratory for testing milk but had been being used as a training room. Ben quickly turned his hands to plumbing and building works creating a simple kitchen workspace that could handle our increasing workload and we maintained our 5 star hygiene award.
The office from home was moved into a temporary meeting room that was sharred with the site manager. (not much fun moving your whole office when a meeting was needed by someone else, then back again). This was thankfully short lived and we aquired a larger office along the corridor from our new kitchen. We now had office space for 3 computers and used pre-loved office furniture donated from our site manager (we put up whiteboards, noticeboards and even got an office plant which sadly didn’t last long).
Once settled we then moved our attention on expanding our workforce and decided that rather than relying fully on temperary staff getting a full time head chef for the Summer season would allow Ben to jump between helping support Clare in the office and on jobs with the front of house whilst also overseeing the management of the kitchen as the executive head chef.
Jed was a very experienced outdoor events chef and had similar culinary talents to Ben, he joined us and with our trusted team of temporary event staff delivered our most successful Summer of events.
We soon realised that we needed to employ our first full time member of staff on a permanent basis to meet the increasing demand for Bens food.
Rachel took up the challenge and joined us mid Summer season in 2015. Throughout the year she built up her confidence in such a demanding role and together we orchestrated some of our most prostigious events, even adding royalty to our list of clientel. Ben added more gadgets and work areas to his kitchen plus we gained a stock room with racking and a small tasting room for clients.
At the end of Summer 2016 we said goodbye to Rachel and hello to Lindsay as our permanent creative general manager, who has taken us up another level. Andrea joined us at the start of 2017 as our permanent events co-ordinator and Tim is now our permanent head chef. Plus we have a full team of well seasoned commis chefs, porters, front of house managers and waiting staff for our 2017 Summer season.
Clare gave birth to her second son, James, on 20th April 2017 and is currently on maternity leave. Ben has more time to be creative in the kitchen and is very proud of how his original vision to share his love and passion for real local Sussex food has grown into such a successful business with happy staff, happy clients and a phone (and email) that is off the hook.