Introducing our Food and Beverage Manager: Jake Kwan

11 November 2016

Tell us a little of your background. What is your experience of the leisure industry?

Growing up I was fortunate enough to play a number of sports at Bedford Modern School, working my way into multiple first teams as well as enjoying individual sports and athletics. Regrettably I lost touch with my sporting background in my twenties, I did manage a brief stint back on the Rugby pitch with the Northampton Outlaws but work commitments prevented me from taking it on further.

My work background is in the hospitality sector and I have worked my way up through the ranks, at one point running 3 pubs in the local area. In terms of health clubs I have held a gym membership for the last decade but disappointed and unmotivated with the offers available locally, I found myself only making use of my memberships in short bursts. I am sure that will change now I am working at Club Towers and hopefully, this will get me enjoying my exercise again. I am sure there will be many others like me in the town that will use this great facility to kick start their fitness regimes too!


What attracted you to the position of FBM at Towers Health & Racquets club?

After making the decision for a complete life change, I had been searching for some time to find the ‘perfect role’. By chance I stumbled across an advert for this position and I knew at that moment it was exactly what I had been searching for!

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]

Best Bar None Award

With my passion for great food and drink and experience in this field, the opportunity to work with a start-up and create an exciting and fresh offer could not be turned down. I am particularly looking forward to working with local suppliers to promote the outstanding produce that can be sourced locally in Bedfordshire and creating a drinks menu to rival not only other club bars but the hospitality industry in our area.

Being a Bedfordian, I have in the past championed local endeavours, promoting a ‘Better Bedford’. It is with great pleasure that I can be part of this project to bring a quality healthy environment to a community that I hold dear.


When recruiting for your staff, what will you be looking for?

The Café and Bar will be the centre of community within the club and as such there will be certain expectations made of us. As a team, we will aim to provide an area of relaxation, community spirit and friendly encouragement after a great workout or game of squash or tennis.

A friendly face that can tailor the experience for the individual is something the management team and I will be looking for. There will be a high importance placed on training within the team to ensure full product knowledge and an honest, quality service is given at all times. As such, I will be looking for staff that are able to absorb and understand a huge amount of information while being able to work in a high-pressure environment. With communication skills so important in a members club, I will seek to find individuals with a personable nature and the right personality to be able to fit into our team.


How good is your squash and tennis?

Well it’s safe to say I am the least experienced racquet player out of the management team, however, I’m extremely competitive so perhaps that will work in my favour! I will certainly aim to develop my squash in my spare time and plan to get on court with Steve (General Manager) for some tips. That being said, if a member wants an easy win, ask me for a game before I improve!

I have more of a background in Tennis and as a schoolboy I was of a semi-competitive standard. I’m looking forward to keeping fit while enjoying a couple of sets with the F&B team.


What is your favourite food & drink?

Well, this must be my question! I don’t believe in a favourite food as such but I can say I particularly like honest, simple foods done well. Professionally, I lean towards locally sourced foods produced by experts in their respective fields. Without naming suppliers, there are some fantastic ingredients available on our doorstep that are not currently utilised.

Growing up I always had a passion for cooking. I was fortunate enough to grow up in an environment where I knew the process of how the food gets to our plate. My grandad was an accomplished gardener and my spare time (though reluctantly at the time) was spent in the gardens growing produce and tending to livestock for the family home. My home kitchen is always full of delightful smells with friends and family always jumping at the chance to come over for dinner. It must be said, I do tend to have a continental flair to my food and I often come back to my Chinese roots too. After years of trial and error, I have developed my own style that allows for the ingredients to speak for themselves in mouth-watering dishes.

Drink is also an area of expertise and I love my spirits. Of all the spirits, there are none much better than a good gin! These days ‘good’ gin is everywhere but ‘great’ gin is still ever elusive.

With a background in late night bars, I honed my talent for cocktail making. Treating a cocktail with the same care and consideration of a finely cooked meal, I particularly enjoy balancing the subtle flavours of gin with the floral notes of the country. My ‘Country Tonic’ is a must try!


What do you like to do when not working?

My spare time is mostly spent with my wonderful partner or with my friends. I can often be found at local jam nights too playing my Cajon and relaxing to great local music. Recently I have just taken up the martial art of Tae Kwon Do, immersing myself in this world and dedicating a large amount of my time in learning the theory and history.


And finally…. Who has been your biggest influence?

Through my early years my family influenced my development. I have been incredibly fortunate to have had unwavering support for any endeavours from my immediate family. My mother has to be my greatest influence; she raised my brother and I on her own and showed me the meaning of hard work.

Growing up my Grandad was my hero, an army veteran and headmaster he was a character that you could not help but admire (and fear at times). I looked to him for moral guidance, definitely making me a stronger person for it. He instilled a desire to achieve the best I personally can with empathy, humility and moral fibre.

Recently, I have been studying the lives of important philosophical characters and persons through history. I am currently reading Sun Tzu’s ‘Art Of War’ and studying interviews with Bruce Lee both of which are making a huge impact on me and assisting me in finding a better understanding of all aspects of my life.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]