Now well known in the fine food industry, John Farrand began his career studying agriculture & food industry management at Wye College. This oddly named but all-encompassing course covered farming and production as well as sales and marketing, which proved to be the perfect grounding for a career in speciality foods.

John is the Managing Director of the Guild of Fine Food and organiser of The Great Taste Awards. 

At the heart of the fine food world since 1995, the Guild supports and promotes speciality food producers and the independent delis, farm shops and food halls that sustain them. One of the most significant and well-known projects is Great Taste - the world’s largest and most trusted food and drink accreditation scheme.

  1. What is the best thing about your current job?

People automatically think my job is all about excellent food and drink all of the time. That’s a part of it, but it is as much about people. And they are the best thing about my job. The judges, the makers, the retailers and our own team at the Guild of Fine Food.

  1. What was your first job in the hospitality/foodservice industry?

My very first job, during school holidays was at a local baker. Aged sixteen, I was employed as the gopher. I was tasked with cleaning the equipment and preparing for the next day’s baking. There was a lot of early starts and elbow grease.

  1. Who has been your biggest influence during your career?

As a family business, you are inevitably influenced by your parents. Mine started the organisation 40 years ago.  Outside of that, it is Guy Tullberg of Tracklements - he’s been a work confidant and good friend.

  1. What key piece of advice would you give the future generation of hospitality professionals?

Try your best to understand all roles in the food and drink sector. Be versatile and interested in all aspects of the business you work for – that way you can help the organisation improve systems, and process and stimulate creative thoughts.

  1. What is your favourite restaurant or type of food?

At the moment, I am really enjoying Spanish food and Spanish wine.

  1. What is your favourite dish?

Simple, fresh well-cooked fish.

  1. What is your favourite drink?

The red wines of Ribera del Duero, although recently I enjoyed a Canarian tinto, a region that previously would only be known for its white.

  1. What or who are you looking forward most to see or meet at IFEX 22?

The Great Taste Market. I love meeting the food and drink makers who enjoy talking about the products they make. The story and personality behind food and drink is so interesting and is becoming more and more important to shoppers and diners.