Darren Cooper

My career started in the hospitality industry at age 12, working in local hotels and restaurants in the UK. From there, I went on to successfully complete a British Technical Education Council Diploma in Hotel Catering and Institutional Operations before working as trainee manager at The Grims Dyke Hotel, Harrow. After completing my traineeship, I moved into the contract catering industry as a butler and then Assistant Manager for Directors Table, London.

At age 19 I changed career direction and joined the Royal Navy as a cook and completed my 706/1* professional qualification as a Chef.

I travelled to many parts of the world, and served high ranking officers, including Admirals and HRH Prince Andrew. During my naval career I completed the advanced cookery certificate 706/2*. I was also awarded a medal for campaign service in the Arabian Gulf.

After leaving the armed forces I returned to the contract catering industry and managed many high profile outlets in London and South East England, using my skills as a manager and chef, with a real passion for excellence.

It was at this point, while I was the General Manager for Sutcliffe Catering at Cable and Wireless that Brendan and I first met.  

* 706/1 City and Guilds London Institute Diploma in professional cookery

* 706/2 City and Guilds London Institute Diploma in advanced professional cookery

I was looking for a Sous Chef to manage one of our kitchens and was introduced to Brendan. Straight away I was impressed with his flair and attitude.

In 1997, my wife and I moved to Brisbane where I continued to work in the contract catering industry managing high profile businesses including Suncorp, Metway and QIDC head office. From there I moved into sales for Douwe Egbert’s coffee, before starting my own coffee roasting business Viva Dourado Coffee Company. Since then, I have continued to work extensively in the hospitality industry focusing on high technology catering equipment.

In 2007, I started my catering consultancy business. This business now has five arms to it including training, business consultancy, marketing advice and the supply of high technology cooking equipment.

With over 32 years experience in the industry I am committed to offering professional advice with flair, passion and dedicated experience.