Cactus Kitchens has beaten off stiff competition to be one of eight finalists shortlisted for an Amazon Growing Business Award in the Micro Business category. The nomination comes only a few weeks after The Michel Roux Jr Cookery School at Cactus Kitchens was crowned Food & Travel Magazine Cookery School of the Year.

Director, Anna Ratcliffe is thrilled that the business, which has doubled its turnover since its launch in 2013, has been recognised by the judges for its enterprise and innovation in a crowded and competitive hospitality sector.

Best known for its award-winning cooking experiences hosted by renowned chefs, and classes in essential culinary skills, Cactus Kitchens is much more than the sum of its parts. Ratcliffe’s young, mostly female, team are all encouraged to develop their talents and share ideas. She believes this is essential to creating a dynamic workforce and workplace. She is proud that Cactus, despite its small size sheds light on so many areas of the food world for her team as they find their way in the industry.

She attributes the school’s growing success to its focus on customer service and sharing knowledge and information. A concerted social media strategy and attention to customer care and communication (a dedicated Happiness Officer was appointed earlier in the year) has paid dividends.

Most importantly, Ratcliffe and her team don’t believe in waste, certainly not wasting food (food is their business after all), but just as importantly not wasting the chance to create opportunities, or pursue new ideas for the business, which includes developing bespoke experiences on and off site for the corporate market and teaming up with other hospitality providers to offer new and original services.

Cactus also believes in forging alliances and developing relationships with local enterprises and charities, including near neighbours the West Indian Association of Service Personnel (which is the beneficiary of any surplus food), and Providence House Youth Club in Battersea for whom Cactus runs holiday programmes for youngsters alongside food education and skills training.

Ratcliffe works hard to support local suppliers and collaborate with local businesses. She says, “To grow and be successful in a challenging market we have to work with and support our community to find and create new opportunities from which we can all benefit.” This young cookery school is growing up fast.

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Cactus Kitchens, home of the Michel Roux Jr Cookery School. Offering an array of unique cooking classes in London including the Saturday Kitchen Experience.