I trained as a professional Chef at Westminster College London in the late 70’s and this is where I learnt the importance of good planning or “mise en place” as we Chefs refer to. My first full time job was at the Dorchester Hotel where Anton Mosimann was the Head Chef. Further career moves took me to Tregenna Castle Hotel in St Ives Cornwall where I was given the opportunities to learn about front of house and other supervisory skills. A career change followed during which time I studied Social Science, Health and Disease and Social Problem Social Welfare with the Open University in Wales. The credits earned were used to gain access to a Welsh Degree at St David’s University in Lampeter. I graduated with a BA Hons in Welsh in 1996. I have over the years opened an Art Gallery with a business partner, a Delicatessen as a sole trader and ran the Cafe at Rhiannon’s Gold Centre in Tregaron before embarking as an Event Organiser and Food Consultant promoting Welsh Produce at High profile events for the Welsh Government’s Food Directorate. I was one of the 6 Chefs to represent Wales in 2009 at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington. In 2010, I joined the staff of the National Library of Wales (NLW) to deliver the Digital Heritage in the Community project for the People’s Collection Wales Programme. Following the completion of that project I remained at the Library as the Community Engagement Officer for the PCW programme and later went on to Manage the unit responsible for Community Engagement, Content and Moderation. In November 2016, I was appointed Head of External Relations at the Library and left that post at the end of November 2017. I now work for Cambrian Training as a Training Officer in the Hospitality Sector supporting apprentices at Level 2, 3 and 4. I am also employed by Merched y Wawr as a part time Development and Promotions Officer responsible for the Branches in Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire. I am a Mentor for Prime Cymru and Business Wales and feel that I have much to offer budding new businesses because I would not have achieved as much in my life without the help, support and guidance of the Mentors that have shared their knowledge and skills with me. One of those mentors was Elwyn Jones the founder member and scrip writer of Z Cars. He taught me that you do not need to know everything and a copy of the Encyclopaedia Britannica helps. He also told me to ‘never loose sight of my dreams, the world needs dreamers and there are not many of us around’. Elwyn I am still a dreamer!!!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There is no such thing as failure, only failing to see when things need to be changed.
Hazel Ann Thomas