Speaker Q&A: James Douglas, Red’s True Barbecue
A popular returning speaker, James Douglas is co-founder & director of Red’s True Barbecue — the UK’s No.1 BBQ brand. He’ll be appearing in The Solid Fuel Panel session, examining the benefits and considerations of cooking with solid fuel. We caught up with him before the show to find out more.
What piece of equipment is most essential to your kitchen operation?
Our Smokers… as an authentic American Smokehouse, we pride ourselves on the product we put out to our customers, it’s this obsession with quality that stands us apart as the leader of our sector.
What’s on your equipment wish-list this year?
A food truck… probably not what you were thinking I’d say but it’s at the top of the list!
What do you feel is the key for operators/caterers to successfully compete against their competitors?
Just be amazing at what you do, don’t start diversifying when times get tough — stick to your roots and don’t start doing anything and everything trying to please everyone.
What do you see as key trends for commercial kitchens in the coming year?
I believe we’re all going to have to look long and hard at how we manage and maintain real fire cooking, charcoal, wood etc… there is rumbling afoot that these things will come under tighter controls within urban areas soon and the fact that as EHO continues to increase and tighten within the workforce we’ll have to work towards stricter and far tighter regulations and legislations as the next few years role on.
How important is the Commercial Kitchen trade show to you and the sector?
It’s a great event. Seeing the kit first hand really helps make your mind up as to whether you’re prepared to invest in it.
Can you tell us a bit about your much-anticipated sessions at Commercial Kitchen 2018?
I had a great time last year (discussing multi-site restaurant innovation) so I’m hoping this year’s panel is as good… if not better!
Who or what inspires you to be even better?
My friends and family, their backing and support keeps me going through the tough times and their constant presence allows me to enjoy the good times even more!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Have goals so big that you get uncomfortable telling small minded people.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself that most people don’t know:
I hold the world record for the highest game of full contact professional rugby ever played, it was played in the crater of Kilimanjaro 2 years ago.
See James at Commercial Kitchen 2018
The Solid Fuel Panel: 11am in the Keynote Theatre on Tuesday 5 June. The session will also feature Paul Merrett (The Jolly Fine Pub Group), Nick Howe (Court Catering Equipment), Paul Dickinson (Fuller’s), and Mark Stretton (Fleet Street Communications).