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Getting to know Peter McCloskey
Meet Peter McCloskey. As the Director and Founder of The Fresh Collective, Peter is known for drive, passion and never settling for second best. With over 45 years of experience, he leads Fresh’s overall management, strategic direction and fostering friendly collaboration across all business levels. This disciplined and organised event pro loves checklists and systems and has a soft spot for Opera. Join us as we get to know Peter McCloskey…
Give us a snap shot of your career to date.
Peter trained as a Chef with Qantas and then worked in various Sydney retail establishments before his appointment as Executive Chef for the Sydney Boulevard Hotel and then Food and Beverage Manager for Hilton Hotels, Sydney and Brisbane. This experience led Peter to establish Mode Group Catering in 1989, which quickly grew into one of the most successful caterers in Sydney. Peter sold Mode and established Fresh in 1999, and has since been honoured with many industry awards recognising both his personal achievements and those of Fresh.
The most memorable event you have worked on and why?
HANDA OPERA – This is an extraordinary undertaking. We cater food and beverage for 3,000 per night over 28 days from 5 different food outlets in an outdoor temporary setting. The food is themed in keeping with the Opera and ranges from fine dining in the Platinum Lounge, to various food concepts and outlets in the precinct. The quality and the standard of the catering is exceptionally high and is a mean undertaking serving that many meals from temporary kitchens in limited time frames. I love Opera and I love being a part of this amazing event each year. I love a challenge and this event has definitely been a high light in my catering experience.
What did you ‘learn the hard way’ when planning an event?
I did my first event over 30 years ago and kept running backwards and forwards to my home as I kept forgetting ingredients and equipment. I Learnt the hard way but very quickly that you have to have systems and checklists in place for every event. We do an extraordinary number of events each year and we rarely forget anything. I am fanatical about checklists, procedures and systems.
What are three personality traits that are required to succeed in the events industry?
Attention to detail
If you could share one piece of advice to those starting out in the industry what would it be?
Count the cost. Working in the Event Industry is rewarding and exciting however it is hard work, long, irregular hours and it is relentless. You must be passionate and committed otherwise you won’t last.
Favourite type of food?
Describe yourself in two words?
How do you unwind after a big event?
Come home, don’t talk about work, have a shower and read
Words to live by?
To build a good culture you must genuinely care about your staff.
My latest favourite is Bills in Crown Street.
Best event you’ve been to as a guest?
My own wedding at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Level 6.
The food and the service was the best I have ever experienced.
What do you prefer, cocktail party or sit-down dinner?
I must prefer to sit down and relax
What is your ideal holiday destination?
Anywhere where there is snow to ski – preference Europe
Favourite party theme?
No theme. I really like good quality food and beverage with exceptional service. My preference would be a formal event, rather than casual
What is your best party trick?
I like to have a few funny stories up my sleeve. I love to make people laugh when I am entertaining.
Why do you love your job?
I love to provide exceptional employment to people and I love to lead and manage.
If you weren’t working in events what would you do?
I think I would like to teach other CEOs how to lead and manage their employees