Inspired by her Nan to Work with Food

With no idea what to do and nothing but a love of food to get her started, Zoe Simons shares how she found a career in food innovation.

Zoe Simons – Partner & Senior Brand Innovation Development Chef, John Lewis Partnership

The John Lewis Partnership is the UK’s largest employee owned business and parent company of John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners, which is owned in Trust by 83,900 Partners.

After a conversation with her Nan about what to do next after college and certain she didn’t want to work in a restaurant, Zoe Simons found herself researching careers in food development. To get her out of the starting blocks she took a role with a manufacturing company and soon found herself with an idea for a product that she was able to get in front of Waitrose & Partners.

Her role with the John Lewis Partnership now is all about food innovation. Zoe is there at the beginning of the food development journey and seeks out inspiration and new ideas from far flung corners of the world, the cookbooks she has around her and from restaurants she visits as part of her job.

No two days are the same, but always on the agenda is ideas sharing. Zoe is surrounded by a team as passionate about food as she is and all of them have an appetite to bring the most inspirational food to life in the products they develop for their customers.

Her aim in the future is to be an expert across all food categories, for now she is taking one category at a time and working to improve her knowledge and skills before moving onto the next.

Understanding new techniques, trying new flavours and getting to grips with new ingredients is all in a days work for Zoe. Through determination and dedication she has turned her love of food into a career that she is fascinated by.

Zoe is no stranger to being patient, she recognises that to have a career that you love takes time but she advises having a goal to help you stay focused. In her words, if you have a goal you will get there and there is nothing more rewarding than going online and reading comments from people who are sharing that a product you have made is their absolute favourite!

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