Red’s Hot Women internship: THE FOODIE EXPERIENCE

25-03-10 – Mucking about in the kitchen

Posted in Uncategorized by Katie Bryson on March 25, 2010

Today was a real treat – I visited the Queen of Hearts bakery in Oxford who supply all manner of tasty treats for Waitrose.

It’s not a place to watch lots of machines in action, it’s all about skilled workers doing most of the work by hand.

After a breakfast of freshly baked warm scones with butter and jam it was down to business.

I saw Easter cakes being lovingly iced and decorated, juicy pies getting their tops on and best of all the Easter cupcakes getting piped with butter cream and special sprinkles on top – my kind of place!

The objective today for the Waitrose team was to brainstorm ideas with the Queen of Hearts  to come up with new products. It was absolutely brilliant being included in the discussions and I really felt like everything I’ve been seeing over the past month is really coming together now.

We headed down to the development kitchen at the bakery for further inspiration.

Stacey the NPD Manager had laid out loads of empty pastry tart cases and all manner of different fillings and toppings. Then we were allowed to get stuck in and come up with all kinds of creations to help inform the development process.

What a treat! Between us we came up with a myriad of delicacies that we had no idea whether they’d work or not. They were put in the oven to cook while we headed back upstairs for further discussions.

Getting a product from concept to shelf is a fascinating process, and one that requires not only creativity but also a fastidious eye for detail and commercial prowess.

Seeing the Product Developers in action at these meetings, I’ve really got a grasp of the level of detail they must go into to achieve the special results that Waitrose products demand for their discerning customers.

The last thing to do was to sample the results of our crazy kitchen session. It was surprising what had worked and what was a disaster! But we were all quite proud of our little creations!

I adored getting stuck in with the food today and experimenting. I also loved being surrounded by hundreds of cupcakes – my little food obsession!

Last day of my internship tomorrow – I can’t believe it’s almost over!

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22-03-10 – Behind the scenes with Publications

Posted in Uncategorized by Katie Bryson on March 22, 2010

I decided to have a day on familiar ground in the world of Waitrose Publications. With my journalism background and passion for food it felt like a logical place to gather contacts and get a feel for how things work.

The department is buzzing with the Heston and Delia project and the imminent launches that surround it.

The first full length advert featuring the foodie twosome is due to broadcast on Thursday, so the Partners are fastidiously getting everything ready. It’s such a high profile campaign that the attention to detail is beyond crucial.

Alongside the ad, Waitrose’s high quality magazine Waitrose Food Illustrated will be relaunched as Waitrose Kitchen and a special Waitrose Weekend newspaper will be hitting stores for the first time.

I was lucky enough to get a sneaky peek at both today and got to meet both Editors. I’m an avid reader of WFI so was curious to see how it’s changed. I’ll not give too much away, but I’m looking forward muchly to chopping out loads of the recipes and giving them a try – I’m such a food magazine addict and have a never-ending thirst for new recipes to road test on my hungry boys!

It was also cool to see some of the people featured in the magazine from the team at Waitrose who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting during my internship.

The weekend newspaper is a great idea. I can imagine leafing through it with a nice a cup of coffee after doing the weekly shop. Waitrose customers are total foodies, so getting a weekly dose of food news will help them stay ahead of the game!

I also had a good rummage around the Waitrose web offering today. Waitrose Live is a really flashy site that’s as close to reading a glossy magazine as you’re going to get. It’s beautifully put together and full of great meal ideas, tips and videos. http://www.waitrose.com/waitroselive/spring09.aspx

My Waitrose is a cool part of the site that personalises the whole experience. I’ve signed up and started my own recipe scrap book and taken part in foodie debates and votes. http://www.waitrose.com/mywaitrose/register.aspx?rp=/mywaitrose/index.aspx

Courtney, who looks after the web side of things asked me to research and write some food news stories which I happily got stuck into. It was heaven browsing around to see what’s new in my favourite world.

Among the more mainstream events I found a great offbeat foodie gathering happening this weekend – London’s supper club scene are hosting an underground Farmers and Craft Market in someone’s house – how cool is that?!

They say it’s going to be “a mashup between an edgy cool entrepreneurial anti-establishment anarchist fair, Borough market and…a school fete!”

Some of the stuff on offer sounds intriguing including, knitted kitchenware, a talk on making cheese in Peckham airing cupboards and the current holder of the speciality trophy for the Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championships, will be showing how to make the perfect bowl of porridge and selling spurtles!

Sounds surreal and sublime all at the same time. http://www.marmitelover.blogspot.com/

I’m off to the food hall at John Lewis Oxford Street tomorrow to help launch a new line of chocolates – fabulous!