Spiros Milatos, chef manager at Prestfelde School in Shrewsbury, recently gave us a slice of his time to talk us through not only his career with contract caterer, Wilson Vale, but also his day-to-day responsibilities and passion for finding creative ways and flavours for feeding pupils.
Currently managing Prestfelde School’s catering and assisting with any special catering events that are running, Spiros commented: “I love working with the school, trying new things and making them work – the school’s themed culinary days and Christmas parties give me the perfect opportunity to do this.”
We asked Spiros what working with Wilson Vale meant to him, and he replied: “For me, Wilson Vale is a great company to work for. They have invested a lot of time and energy into developing me as a manager, and this makes me feel that the company really does believe in me and wants the best for their employees.
“In some ways I now have more freedom with creating and improving menus than I did when working in restaurants. I definitely feel supported in my role by my area manager which is very important to me, and I know that they have my back!”
We asked the talented chef what ingredient and piece of tech/gadget he could not live without – as well as his favourite food. He replied: “My favourite gadget would have to be my wood-fired pizza oven; as far as ingredients go, chipotle, soya sauce, pomegranate molasses, gochugaru, and essentially anything that provides umami.
“Now, choosing my favourite food is a hard one, but after much deliberation it’s got to be prawn laksa from Mary’s Stall at the Parap Markets! Alternatively, it would be anything homemade by my Yaiyai (grandmother).”
Spiros also let us in on an interesting fact about himself that not many people know, and it was a rather fond memory! In his youth, he and some of his friends borrowed a boat to allow them to play a game of cricket on a sandbar. He hit a six over a saltwater crocodile and they all had to zigzag past the croc which was between them and the boat! Spiros was also an outward bound instructor for a couple of years and he has climbed Tserko Ri in Langtang Nepal at 4,984 metres.
We’re not sure which fact is more impressive! Lastly, Spiros shared a variety of top tricks of the trade including always using a sharp knife; seasoning early; toasting spices before you use them; less is more; and to always keep it simple.