A CHEF with a passion for cooking and a brain for buisness is using his skills to help small companies suceed in tough economic times.
Chris Lonergan, of Blandford Road, Norwood Green, set up a food consultancy company, called Earlday, building on about 14 years experience in hospitality.
He shows restaurants, pubs and other small businesses in the competitive industry how to keep costs down and customers happy.
From his network of suppliers to his skills in the kitchen, the 28-year-old uses a range of methods to help ensure a business become a success.
He said: "It's about making savings in the right way. It's important to help small businesses, when I take off my chef whites or my suit I'm a consumer and I want to be able to go to the small, individual restaurants and pubs which offer something different."
Mr Lonergan charges £25 an hour for his work, whether he is working in the kitchen training staff or creating and costing recipes. But he says his fee is more than recouped after he has gone and everything is running smoothly.
From prepping food in his uncle's pub aged 14, to becoming executive chairman for the Five Eight Zero pub company, the chef has seen what it takes to create a successful business.
He said: "For example, working for Five Eight Zero I joined a consortium where different companies joined together to buy products and food. Across three pubs of their pubs I must have saved them about £30,000 a year.
"I worked for them for about two years and I enjoyed it but I wanted a break and went travelling around Australia for five months.
"Now I'm working for myself. It can make you nervous, not knowing having a steady wage. But I only started my company in August and already have my first client and she is very happy. I love seeing my client's ideas come to life through me. Now I just need to get the word out about what I can do."
It may be a change of direction but Mr Lonergan has not hung up his chef whites or lost his love of cooking. He amassed more than 200 cookbooks and constantly keeps updated within the industry through the internet.
He added: "I think I'm getting too old now to stand at a stove for 13 hours a day but I still love the industry, I live and breathe it."
Visit www.earldayltd.co.uk to find out more.