In my quest to find out more about the UK’s fantastic food industry I interview people front of house and behind the scenes. The latest lady to get grilled (pardon the pun) is Rebecca (or Beck) Johnson. She is the business development manager at Masa Restaurant & Wine Bar, where she helps out with events and wedding meetings.
Tell us about a typical day working at Masa Restaurant & Wine Bar.
The chefs are usually cooking something that smells amazing. We are never allowed to try it unless we book a table! Myself and the general manger are busy sorting restaurant reservations and wedding bookings. I deal with a lot of the marketing and help plan the events. We are currently planning our next wedding open day for 27th September and we’re also looking forward to Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
What is it like working in close quarters with your fiancé Matt?
To be honest we don’t need to spend a great deal of time together. Some days are harder than others, we’ve had to learn to leave home and or work disputes where they belong, and not to take them home or to work with us.
You’re Business Development Manager at Masa Weddings. How did you come to work at Masa?
I’ve always supported Matt in his career and when he started at Masa that didn’t change. So much so, that even when I was heavily pregnant he had me peeling vegetables in the kitchen! The owners Paula and Didar noticed how much I supported Matt and they offered me a part-time job that works around family life.
How do you want to make brides and grooms feel on their wedding day?
The whole team, not just me, wants to make every wedding couple feel special, not just on their wedding day, but at all the meetings in the run up to the wedding too.
Have you always been passionate about events?
Yes, I have always helped out at different events for charities in the past and have always enjoyed it.
Do you cook? If so, what inspires you in the kitchen? And is it difficult cooking for a chef?
Yes I do cook a lot, especially family meals as I want our little boy to eat a good balanced diet. I used to really enjoy trying new recipes and spending the whole day in the kitchen. Now I have a little one hanging off my leg when I cook, so it’s not so relaxing! Hmm, cooking for a chef… He is a difficult customer! The first dish I ever cooked him was tuna pasta bake around 10 years ago. It was a disaster. He didn’t eat it and it really upset me! I am a much better cook today though and he does eat what I cook for him now!
Cookery shows like MasterChef and Saturday Kitchen are game-changers; it is now very fashionable to get creative in the kitchen. What do you think of this cooking / baking revolution?
To be honest Matt makes me watch that many that programmes I have now stopped watching them…. Well almost, as I do like the baking ones. I think it’s a good thing if it gets people cooking, but I can see Matt getting annoyed when someone tells him he’s not doing it right because that’s how it was done on TV.
As a person who spends a fair amount of time organising events at Masa, can you tell us about any wedding trends? What about any cooking trends?
Vintage & DIY weddings are big at the minute and Masa is perfect for both of those, as it’s full of character and original features. Cooking trends for weddings… there is not one particular thing that stands out but we are seeing a lot of cupcakes and sweet carts.
What would be your last supper?
A huge Sunday dinner cooked by my dad with all the trimmings followed by my Nan’s lemon drizzle cake.
Are there any chefs that inspire you, or whom you admire?
I would have to say Matt (he didn’t even pay me to say that). I can see how passionate he is about his job and how hard he and the whole kitchen team work.
Do you have any cookery books?
I was going to send you a picture of our cooking books but unfortunately I have had to pack them away as we are moving. We must have 100 plus between us. Matt laughs at me because I love my BE-RO cookbook that my Nan gave me. It is also my go-to book for cakes.
It was a pleasure catching up with Rebecca. To find out more about the gorgeous weddings that she plans (don’t forget there’s a wedding open day on 27th September 2016), or to dine at Masa (I can personally recommend the food, check out my original food review here), hop onto website www.masarestaurantwinebar.com now.