Owen Farr '14

Restaurant Manager at The Modern Pantry

Owen Farr

What made you choose Brookes as a place to study?

I chose Brookes because of the incredible range of opportunities that were going to be available to me, both on my course itself, and through living and studying in Oxford. To live in such a student-focused city surrounded with so much to do was very exciting!

What was your inspiration to move into your current profession?

When I was young I’d always loved food, and eating out, and from an early age I was buying cookbooks, cooking at home and watching food programmes on TV. When I realised there were careers in this industry outside of the kitchen then I was sold.

What is the best advice someone has given you?

Never say no to an opportunity, no matter how scary or daunting it may be. If somebody gives you an opportunity it means they themselves believe you are capable of doing it, so believe them!

What advice would you give to others?

Take the opportunities that you are given, meet people, and build your own personal and professional network. You never know when one of these chance meetings might be of huge benefit to you!

After graduating from Brookes what were the next steps for your career?

After Brookes I joined D&D London, a restaurant group in London, on their graduate management programme. I spent 15 months here across different restaurants and then moved elsewhere with the company, getting promoted twice along the way. In May 2017, less than three years after graduating, I left D&D to join The Modern Pantry in my first Restaurant Manager role.

What success stories/achievements have you had in your role?

Being able to maintain and sustain the levels of business in the current economic climate, where many restaurants are struggling to control costs and remain open. It’s a tough time for everyone but to still see the restaurant attracting guests and good staff is very rewarding.

Are you currently working with Brookes? If not would you be interested in mentoring a student?

I am heavily involved with the Bacchus Alumni Committee, the organisation of graduates of the Hospitality school, and I attend as many open days and talks as time allows. At some point I hope to also become a Bacchus Mentor and share some of my knowledge and experience with students in the same position I once was.

What is your best memory of your time at Oxford Brookes?

The four years studying hospitality at Brookes were the best of my life. For sure we worked hard but there was so much going on all the time, and we always had fun in the guise of networking and hospitality. It was great!
If I had to pick one memory, then being presented with the Raymond Blanc prize for the Food, Drink and Culture module by Raymond Blanc himself, an industry figure who I have always admired, was special.