A Chat With Searcys’ Account Director Peter Martin21 April 2021
Peter Martin has recently joined Searcys as an Account Director, coming from a background in events catering and operations with many years of experience managing events across the City. We are delighted to welcome Peter Martin to Searcys, where he will be looking after a portfolio of venues, including The HAC, Vintners’ Hall and One Moorgate Place.
Welcome to Searcys, Peter! We’re delighted to have you joining us. What attracted you to come and work at Searcys?
I am joining the company at its pivotal moment of growth, and it’s an inspiring time to be coming on board with such a historic brand at a moment of renewal. My ambition is to grow Searcys’ Livery business in the City. Like Searcys, Livery Companies are proud of their heritage, and it is the focus on continuous quality that keeps their guests coming back.
What attracts you to Livery Companies?
I’ve always loved working with Livery Halls, and I’ve operated events there for 25 years. I love the history of these companies, and the sense of heritage, fairness, and loyalty you get from amazing people working there. The ‘Great 12’ are the founding Livery Companies, the equivalent of trade associations and guilds formed in the Middle Ages, and include the Vintners’ Hall (which Searcys looks after), Goldsmiths, Haberdashers and Clothworkers. I believe there is a very special skill in running a formal Livery dinner. It is a true pinnacle of British hospitality.
What is this special skill you talk about, and what exactly is required?
The Ceremony is a key aspect that needs to be delivered when it comes to City dinners. There is a certain flow and protocol to them. You work within each of the Livery Halls special environments and adapt to how each one is managed.
And what about the attention to detail?
You need to be very, very particular. You walk around the table spotting the problems – making sure every cover is exactly straight, glasses are well-polished and placed correctly, all the same width apart. It is a lot of preparation. For a State Banquet, you do need a full 24 hours prior to the event to ensure everything is correct.
This continuous quality is what makes it such a perfect fit for Searcys. We know the expertise, meticulous planning, and flawless execution, and we thrive on that challenge.
What are Livery Companies looking for in food and drink?
It is about traditional British cuisine. The menu needs to showcase the beautiful surroundings and you must really think about the main course – it is a celebration of the quality of ingredients and the presentation. The food needs to look generous, to be indulgent and sophisticated. But it is also about a modern take on this proud heritage.
What are you looking forward to in Searcys?
I’m excited to get to know the Searcys way and to understand the venues. I want to hit the ground running and build this new side to the business. And I am looking forward to reigniting my friendships across the City and sharing the beautiful living heritage of the Livery Halls world with our Searcys customers, creating those indulgent moments. Searcys has a wonderful heritage, and I think that continuity is really important.
What advice would you give to a young person looking to start or develop a career in hospitality? After all the difficulties of 2020.
It is essential to understand all areas of business. I started as a pot wash in the kitchen: you need to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in. It is crucial to know both front-of-house and back-of-house. You absolutely need to listen to people with experience and take it on board. Catering is a great career choice, but you need to enjoy dealing with people – the good and the bad.