Five minutes with: Jonathan Doughty of ECE

ECE’s global head of foodservice on being mentored by his father and his obsession with ice cream.

What is the worst travel experience you have had while working in the property industry?

I had to fly to Luxembourg for a project there from City Airport. The little turboprop aircraft are fine in calm conditions but we bounced and tilted our way down the runway and I really thought we weren’t going to clear the water. Even the stewardess was sick.

What’s the best work decision you have ever made?

I think it must be joining German developer ECE. I am happier in my work than I have ever been and I now get to do whole projects. I can influence the design, the build, the leasing, the operations and the culture of our business for positive effect.

What is your greatest work achievement?

Starting the company Coverpoint from the back bedroom of my house in Maidenhead and building it into the leading foodservice consultancy worldwide, when it was acquired by JLL. This type of consulting did not exist before so I feel I helped create that part of the industry.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

I had the pleasure of meeting Gordon Ramsay, who actually is a really motivating person. He said: “Put your head down and work hard.” I have carried that work ethic with me since my training days as a chef.

What is the best industry after-party you have attended?

When I became worldwide president of the Foodservice Consultants Society International, we were in Chicago in the winter. We had attended a formal dinner and then got into the Studio Paris Nightclub. It was one epic night - and morning.

Who is your business idol and why?

My dad - he has mentored me for years. He was a great cricketer, hence the name Coverpoint for my consulting business. He also bought the famous drum business Premier Percussion as it was failing and turned it around, then sold it very successfully. He always looks at things from a unique perspective.

What is your favourite property in the UK?

Bluewater [in Kent]. I lived and breathed it for years and it feels like part of my family. It still has lots of potential.

Who do you most admire in the property industry?

John Whittaker. I had the pleasure of working with him on the Trafford Centre. I learned a lot and I have a huge respect for him. He always remembers names, details and current deals and has his finger on the pulse of everything.

What is the best thing about the industry?

The constantly changing designs, spaces and places that we build. I love reusing property, and when we blend old and new together it doesn’t get any better than that.

If you were not in your current post, what would be your dream job?

A street-food guy in a van knocking out great food to willing crowds. The film Chef summed it up beautifully.

What could have the biggest effect on the property industry in the next 10 years?

The further development of food, in grocery, restaurants, delivery and takeout. We need to plan it, provide for it and deliver it, far better than we have. It doesn’t mean more, just better.

What’s your ideal holiday?

Cyprus, by the harbour, probably Latchi or Paphos. Fresh fish, grills, wine and beach walks.

What’s your culinary guilty pleasure?

Ice cream - I am obsessed with it. Making it, eating it, making things out of it. I used to steal my mum’s glacé cherries to put on the top.

Do you have any weird, unusual or exciting hobbies?

I fly kites. Not so weird, I guess, but I have a whole range of kites from the most modern to some really old ones. Very relaxing and enjoyable. I was also a choirboy for 11 years and still sing.

If you had a dinner party and could invite three famous people, alive or dead, who would they be and why?

Winston Churchill - I have always been fascinated by his war leadership and subsequent fall from grace; Stephen Hawking, because he has an epic brain and view on the universe; and Karen Carpenter, because in my mind she had the best singing voice ever.

What is the best restaurant you have been to anywhere in the world?

Kuriya Penthouse in Singapore. They noticed my guest and I were left-handed as we had a drink in the bar. They served the entire meal perfectly for left-handers. Even the sushi was laid to face a left-handed chopstick pair. Perfection.

Related Articles

Have your say

Sign in to make a comment on this story.

Sign In

Text size

Desktop Site | Mobile Site