Alex Interviews: Kris Hanson From The Plot Catering Company

Alex: Hi Kris, can you tell me a bit about yourself and your business?

Kris: I grew up in Cardiff and spent the first part of my career learning my trade around the restaurants of the city, gaining experience of how to run kitchens and bars. I used to travel a lot and got to experience amazing food from many different cultures.

When my now wife asked me to move down to Devon with her in 2013, I jumped at the chance of a new adventure. I worked for a restaurant in Exeter and we spent a few years living in Newton Abbot, before moving to Torquay where we have been for just over a year now.

I started The Plot in 2018 just before my son was born, so we’ve just celebrated our 3 year anniversary of being in business, and although we’ve had a pandemic to deal with, it’s been the best 3 years ever. I’ve had the opportunity to meet – and work with – some incredible people, see some amazing places around Devon and Cornwall, and launch a Community Interest Company called Feed South Devon, which runs a variety of community projects.

The Plot is all about taking inspiration from the amazing food we grow on our allotment and turning it into fresh, tasty dishes on our menus.

Alex: What made you start your business, and what are you trying to achieve with it?

Kris: The biggest reason for starting The Plot was to have time with my family – which was something I just wasn’t getting from working in a restaurant.  Also, having spent over a decade in catering, it seemed natural that the next step would be to take the plunge and give myself the ability to create the dishes I wanted, and offer the service I would love to receive.

I also wanted to use The Plot as a platform to champion our eco-friendly goals. We work with some amazing independent green companies across Devon, and alongside our community commitment, it’s a huge part of our ethos.

Alex: Do you have any big plans for the future?

Kris: My big goal over the next few years is to open a community deli/café that can provide employment opportunities and life skills to people who may not ordinarily get those chances; somewhere that can provide support and signposting to people in need, and where all the profits can be put back into the local community.

Alex: How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns?

Kris: Like many businesses, COVID-19 hit us hard. We went from having over 25 weddings booked in for 2020, to only doing 2. Both of which were with reduced numbers.

The great thing is we were able to book these weddings in for 2021 and 2022 instead, so along with receiving new bookings, we’re in for a great couple of years. On top of this, when restrictions were eased in the summer, we were able to pick up lots of private dining bookings, which gave us the chance to see some amazing parts of the county that we wouldn’t have had the chance to, if we’d been working at weddings all the time.

Also, my wife was pregnant during the first lockdown, so we got some great family time together while isolating, and now we have an amazing 8-month-old little girl!

Alex: Is there anything else you’d like to say to our audience?

Kris: I’ve recently launched a new company called Tor to Bay Events. We’ve got some exciting things planned for Torbay and Teignbridge. Our heart is in the community and we want our events to benefit the local economy, local businesses, and local people. We’d love to connect with any local companies who may want to be involved with the community events!

Alex: How can people get in touch with you?

Kris: If anyone is looking for catering, they can get in touch with us on our Facebook page @theplotcatering or through our website at: www.theplotcatering.co.uk

Kris Hanson was interviewed by Alex Belsey of QUAY Magazine

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