Derek manages to race to the top with his motor sport themed cafe
Chef Derek Hunter is racing ahead in the food stakes.
Following a lengthy career in the oil and gas industry, the 66-year-old downed tools to achieve a rather different dream, amalgamating his two passions: food and motor sports.
In 2014 he launched Race Cafe, in Bow Lane, Preston, which carries a motor sport theme.
Derek says: “I have always loved motor sports.
“When I was 16 I used to race go karts with my good pal Reg Child in a garage in Geoffrey Street, Preston.
“I used to go to Silverstone and loved it.
“I have also been travelling across Europe.
“In 2007 and 2008 I completed two Cannonball 2000 road rallies, one to Budapest and one to Zagreb, raising more than £9,000 for the NSPCC, and £3,500 for St Catherine’s Hospice.
“It was just something that was in my build.
“Boys and their toys – it was like a dream and it became addictive.”
Keeping the pastime as a hobby, on leaving school he trained at Courtfield Catering College, in Blackpool, and worked as the larder chef at The Clifton Arms at Lytham.
His career took a different path and he worked in the oil and gas industry, working his way up to being a supervisor.
Derek adds: “A few years ago a friend of mine had a unit in Bow Lane for sale.
“I had a few ideas including selling second hand cars, or a car wash.
“But then I thought there were not that many decent cafes in the area and as I had served some time as a chef, the idea of the race cafe was born.
“I was still working as a senior drilling supervisor in the oil and gas industry, being away 28 days and spending 26 days at home.
“In August 2015 I left and focused on the cafe.
“I am in charge of food preparation, stock ordering and purchase, and all general small business duties from opening up to banking to closing up.
“I am supported by Sharon Witterick, part time cafe manageress.
“Sharon previously worked at the Appleby Manor Hotel in Appleby.
“She has worked in the catering industry for the past 25 years.
“I also have another part time employee, Michaela Catt, and two part-time Saturday girls who work in the kitchen and do food preparation and cafe duties.
“The cafe is based on a motor sport theme, having numerous genuine and signed posters collected personally over the last 40 years, from Le Mans 24 hour races, Formula 1 and Grand Prix.
“We also hold evening meetings to support Garstang and Preston Motor Club members, which are proving to be more and more popular.
“It trades as a breakfast cafe, serving the best of local produce to the local community, supporting local businesses.
“We have a cross section of customers, serving workers in the city centre and local passing trade.
“We also deliver breakfasts and breakfast sandwiches to a few local businesses in the area.
“We welcome enquiries for outside catering, buffets for all occasions.”