A top chef who has worked around the world and for major sporting venues in the North East has packed his utensils in his old kit bag and headed for the Stadium of Light.
STEVE WELCH started his career in the Army Catering Corps, with his training taking him as far afield as Hong Kong, Canada and Brunei.
But now after stints in a range of top North East hotels, restaurants and sporting venues he has taken up the post as business development and executive head chef at Sunderland AFC.
Steve’s vast range of experience, which covers everything from executive chef at Wynyard Hall Hotel to the acclaimed Black Horse at Beamish, means he is perfectly placed to help drive both the matchday and non-match day hospitality forward.
His experience in outside catering and large events – including working on the catering operation for the Tall Ships Race when it was in Hartlepool in 2010 – will also help grow 1879 Event Management, SAFC’s external catering arm.
“This is a very exciting opportunity for me,” said Steve, 55. “SAFC and 1879 Event Management already have an excellent reputation operating in a very competitive industry and part of my role will be to ensure we’re ahead of the game.
“I’ll be looking at menu development and will be ensuring that we are innovative and looking at what’s on trend, so we are always ahead of the competition.”
Steve will be working closely with senior development chef Patrick Lesca and the existing team at the stadium along with developing the ongoing relationship with Sunderland College to support the next generation of young chefs.
Originally from Hampshire, Steve first came to the North East after leaving the Army in 1999 and has worked at a variety of venue including at Ramside Hall Hotel and at the Falcons Rugby Club.
Gary Hutchinson, commercial director at SAFC, said: “We are delighted to have Steve as part of our team.
“His experience in a number of areas and his passion and his knowledge will be a huge asset to the club as we move forward and expand this area of business.”