Crisis leads to new career as happy cook

The Happy Cook: Pete and wife Julia with children Kiera,(6) left, and Sadie (8)
The Happy Cook: Pete and wife Julia with children Kiera,(6) left, and Sadie (8)
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An ex teacher who launched a new career after suffering a break-down says he believes his story could be an inspiration to others who are in a job they don’t enjoy.

Pete Campbell,44, has turned his back on the blackboard jungle and branched out to set up The Happy Cook.

This Friday he will launch two new delivery services: Let’s Celebrate Friday Lunchtime and a Friday night delivery service in the Garstang area.

He has set up an outside catering business, founded on his love of good cooking, and has leafleted local town businesses to introduce himself and his service explaining: “I’d like to offer you a delicious, affordable treat for Friday lunchtimes. Put your feet up or get together with your colleagues and let me take care of lunch.”

He also offers event catering and has already set up his gazebo at Headingley and Kendal.

A sample menu includes freshly griddled BBQ chicken on large barm with salad leaves and choices of dressing for £2.95 or homemade steak and ale stew served with crispy roast potatoes for £4.25.

For the former Garstang High School student, who was Head of Information Technology for Key stages four and five at Lytham St Annes Technology and Performing Arts College, the change of career was unexpected.

“I started teaching in 2000 and for about 12 years I really enjoyed it. It was a very rewarding career with a good salary and holidays – hard but good. Then by the end of last year I started to struggle massively with it because of all the bureaucracy and all the targets and so on.

“It became more and more impossible to teach good lessons and have time to plan good lessons...I am a big believer you have to put effort in to make progress. I was good at teaching and got fantastic results. Last year my father became ill and it became more and more difficult. It got to the stage it was making me ill.”

His father, Steve Campbell, a former deputy head of St Thomas’s school in Garstang, who had been suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, died. The bereavement was also a catalyst for Pete to review his life.