My Inspiration: Luke Wolsey
Managing director of Little Wing Pizza takes inspiration from his father, who he says has helped to raise the bar for the province’s growing hospitality industry
I started work aged 10 along with my older brother in Bangor’s Jenny Watts pub on a Saturday for pocket money, before eventually joining the ranks of staff at nightclub Boom Boom Room. Over the next four years I did just about every role including cleaner, toilet attendant, glass collector and barman. Working from a young age means I had a strong work ethic instilled in me. I’ve always understood the value of getting on with those you work with and I’ve learned a lot from my colleagues.
After college, where I studied catering and hotel management, I joined TaTu on the Lisburn Road as a chef and really got to grips with how a busy kitchen should work. I also worked on the restaurant floor where I learned the importance of proper customer service.
After that I worked in various managerial roles in Pretty Mary’s in Moira and the Cloth Ear in Belfast. My brother and I then left to set up our own business — the Salty Dog in Bangor. After selling this business I became managing director of Little Wing, the only indigenous pizzeria company in Northern Ireland.
I’ve always been a keen sports fan, especially football and 2012 is a big year for sport and a big year for Northern Ireland.
Throughout my working life, getting on with people and having a sense of humour has always been important. Hopefully this year the world will get a taste of traditional Northern Ireland humour.
The passion my father [Beannchor managing director Bill Wolsey] has had for his business has always inspired me and it has definitely rubbed off.
His experience has proved invaluable to me and I like to think he has really raised the bar for hospitality in Northern Ireland.
As a Liverpool fan, I’ve always admired Kenny Dalglish — his skill as a player and manager are legendary, although I’m not sure they’d work so well in our business.
At Little Wing we pride ourselves on building strong relationships with local charities and schools through mentoring and fundraising support. I’m always inspired by the work they do and it gives us great satisfaction as a company to be able to help.