A manager and DJ who helped tantalise the taste buds of Hollyoaks stars has taken the reins at a top Chinese restaurant.
Jason Sheehan, 33 from Wrexham, who rubbed shoulders with Sarah George, and Twinnie-Lee Moore, who play the McQueen sisters in the hit Channel 4 show, is the new boss at The Real China, at Eagles Meadow shopping centre.
The buffet-style restaurant offers a mouth-watering selection of Asian delicacies alongside traditional Chinese dishes in a specialist food area.
The ex Maelor School pupil Jason, ran the Fiesta Havana cocktail restaurant in Chester, a favourite haunt of the Hollyoaks duo.
Jason, who is engaged to his partner Tara, and father of Oscar, three, and Charlie, one, said: “They were very down to earth and friendly. I’d try and get story lines out of them but they weren’t allowed to say anything because of their contracts.”
Jason’s career in catering began when he studies business and catering at Yale College (now Coleg Cambria), earning himself a clutch of NVQs.
He started deejaying in the local area at venues such as Central Station, before jetting to Greek island of Corfu to DJ at the famous B52 bar, where he eventually became manager.
Jason said: “I play all sorts of music – funky house, R n B, rock, soul, pop, anything that gets people moving.”
Jason is also a champion fighter, and has won the mixed martial arts (MMA) North Wales Open Championships.
He started doing Shotokan karate when he was seven-years-old, eventually becoming a black belt second dan.
He said: “I was looking for the next step so I started learning Brazilian jujitsu – things like submissions, grappling, ground moves, and Muay Thai which is kickboxing.
“You get a massive surge of adrenaline when you fight in a competition. I was very proud to win the North Wales Open.
“I train at Hustle Gym in Wrexham. I don’t compete anymore but I still train just for the love of it.
“Martial arts taught me a lot of lessons that I use in everyday life, and in my work – things like respecting others, restraint, discipline and keeping calm.”
He’s managed various other restaurants in Spain and the UK, and once owned his own hotel.
The new Real China manager is buzzing about his new challenge.
He said: “It’s really exciting. They were looking for a shift manager, but they looked at my CV, saw that I was overqualified and offered me a job as manager.
“What I’ll be focusing on the most is customer service because what we want to do is provide an enjoyable experience for customers every time. That way they’ll want to come back and we’ll get repeat business which is great.
“We have to make the product premium quality. We’ve hired new staff and we’ve got a new chef. Things are definitely moving in the right direction. We’re getting a lot of positive feedback from customers.
“We’ve recently obtained a 5 star cleanliness rating for our kitchen which we’re extremely proud of, because it’s a reflection of our high standards.
“We’ve started a new take away and delivery service which is registered with Just Eats. That way, customers can have our great food even if they can’t make it to the restaurant. We can do the catering for events, for example birthdays and anniversaries or any other party.
“We want The Real China to be more than just a restaurant. We want it to be part of the community. You see the same people a lot so little things like remembering people’s names are important, to make everyone feel special. People do appreciate that.
“I’m Wrexham born and bred so I understand what the locals want. It’s a place where everyone knows everyone.
Hongchen Wu, who is proprietor of The Real China at Eagles Meadow alongside his best friend and business partner Sen Yang, believes Jason has the perfect mix of skills.
He said: “We wanted someone with local knowledge, and knows the local people and what they want and the service they expect. Jason definitely has that. He has the perfect skill set for us because he has run a lot of restaurants before.
“He’s bringing in a lot of new ideas.”
Ex Glyndwr University business student Hongchen, added: “I started at The Real China as a kitchen porter.
“We always wanted to own our own business but we wanted to gain some experience before we started up ourselves. We think getting the practical experience is very important. We want to combine that with the theoretical knowledge we gained at Glyndwr University to help us put the theory into practice.
“We are ready for the challenges that lie ahead. I feel really excited about the future, and am enthusiastic and passionate about the business. We are young and we have an intense drive to succeed. Our ambition is to open restaurants all over the UK.
“We have a lot of friends in Wrexham. The people here are very friendly.”
Eagles Meadow manager Kevin Critchely believes Jason will brings a lot to the table at The Real China.
He said: “I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate Jason on his new job. He obviously has a wealth of experience and high standards which can only be good for The Real China, and its customers.
“It’s a very exciting time for the restaurant and I’ll be watching how things develop over the coming months with interest.”