3 O levels, 5 cse’s City & Guilds Catering 706/2, 707/2, NWRAC Pastry.
Brief job description
I work within the Asda brand department at Asda house Leeds.
I am responsible for food development/innovation across all fresh food and grocery areas.
My career so far…
- 2 years Rochdale technical college
- 12 years working in Michelin standard restaurants in UK, France, Caribbean and Canada.
- 4 years in Retail food development, with Hazlewoods (food manufacturer) responsible for the ‘Gary Rhodes’ frozen food range and the last 3 years with ASDA.
What does your job involve in a typical day?
It can vary dramatically, from supplier visits to Press presentations.
Though a typical day in Asda house would start at the desk, sorting through e-mails and admin, this would be generally be cleared by 9am, when supplier meetings and tastings start.
The meetings will take place in our development kitchen, we have especially designed this, with professional equipment and a presentation area.
I often present to our suppliers food that I have prepared to show the types of innovation, trends and development we require for the coming months, I prefer to work with our suppliers this way as they can be clearly briefed and this is supported by a written brief. Often we have 2/3 hour sessions with our suppliers which can take a lot of preparation. Sometimes I can be cooking 3 days a week.
Other meetings involve the suppliers presenting to us in response to a brief, these can be marathon like tasting sessions in which food is carefully selected for our own label brands.
I work as an expert food consultant working closely with our brand managers, buyers, marketers and development managers to make sure our selections are correct both commercially and are customer focused.
This will lead me up to around 5.30pm when its back to the desk to finish the days admin.
I work a Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm ish. It’s great to have weekends off as a chef they normally are the busiest times.
What do you like most about your job?
Food, Food, Food, l love working with it, and there is still so much to do and learn!
I organise 3/4 food discovery trips abroad per year this keeps the ideas flowing and understand the food market worldwide.
What skills are required in your job?
Food knowledge is very important, not only cooking it, but its integrity, seasons, quality, presentation etc…,, I get involved with everything from coffee to cakes, breads to ready meals. If I don’t know about a given food I always read up on it or simply cook it!
I have also now gained a lot of experience in food manufacturing which I have found essential in my role. This helps put things into commercial perspective.
Teaching and Coaching colleagues about food is a big part of my roll so communication skills are important.
How many people work for you?
None, I work within a small innovations team of 3, reporting to Director of European Own Label.
What is your advice to people looking for a career in the food and grocery industry?
It’s exciting and fast moving. Customers are more adventurous and aware, this keeps our industry on its toes, and I believe this only the beginning of food retail development, there so much more to do.
You have to be able to cope with change and be passionate or at least interested in food or you won’t enjoy it.