“I have been at the Deli since Day One,” says manager Denise Le Gallez. With a background in retail and customer service, Denise was a perfect fit for front of house manager when Jeanne Whittome, Derek Woodhouse and Janie Thompson decided to transform the small deli into the destination venue it has become today.“That was just over five years ago,” says Denise as she laughingly describes the Deli as a “monster” that just keeps growing and expanding.
“Aside from Derek, the Deli is run by women,” says Denise, “And we are all quite strong and opinionated but that is why it works. We bounce ideas off each other and we are so passionate about making it work. Gemma is fiery in the kitchen but she has a gentle, caring side to her that people don’t always realise. Janie is the matriarch, she is the leader but she does listen to our opinions.”
For her part, Denise is the ringmaster who keeps everything running smoothly. She spends time in every section of the Deli. That could mean 20 minutes on the tills, 20 minutes on the deli counter but she spends most of her time keeping a watchful eye on everything that is going on in the buzzing venue and exerting her vivacious charm on the customers. She is also in charge of much of the ordering, including her favourite product, the pasta range stocked on the Deli shelves.
Despite her earlier reference to the Deli monster, it is clear that Denise absolutely loves her work. She has a great relationship with all the staff, from the young 14-year-old weekend workers through to the long-serving stalwarts.
“We call ourselves “the Deli Family” and it is lovely,” she says. “And it really is a family thing. Both my girls – Jess and Belle – have been part of it and everyone who works here feels part of something special.
“When you are in here, you forget the rest of the world. I couldn’t work anywhere but here.”