How long have you been at Beanies?
Why did you join?
I was previously working at the Crucible Theatre and was made redundant just as my second daughter was born. I wanted to stay around Sheffield while my children were growing up, rather than adopt the travelling lifestyle of a jobbing actor, so was on the look out for a job that appealed to me. I was already a regular customer at Beanies and so when a vacancy was advertised I jumped at it for the princely £4.30 per hour that they were offering then!
I had previously worked in co-operatives, too, so this aspect, and the efforts the company made to trade ethically, really attracted me.
What areas of the business do you work in predominantly?
I have worked in all departments of the shop at one time or other but particularly enjoy visiting the wholesale market in the early mornings. I also like doing my delivery round on Wednesdays and in the last six months have started to work with Becky at Cat Lane Bakery a couple of days a week. It has proved a fascinating challenge learning how to bake bread on a commercial scale and I love the creative aspects – developing recipes etc – and of course the important sampling that has to take place! Oh, and I'm also Company Secretary.
What areas of the work particularly interest you?
The co-operative structure of the business always proves an interesting and challenging way to work. It demands participation from all members and it can be very rewarding working away at an issue until everyone is happy with the decision we have to make. That can be a long process but it always feels worth it in the end.
Has anything funny or dramatic happened to you in the shop?
The shop during the day is generally a busy, bustly place, but sometimes – at 4.30am it can seem quite different – even eerie. When I’m in doing my veg list for the wholesale market, I have sometimes allowed myself to become really spooked by the strange noises that the building makes – weird bangs and crashes – it took me quite a while to realise that pieces of plaster were falling off the ceiling onto the top of the suspended ceiling in the wholefoods shop!
What is your favourite ingredient that we stock?
I find it hard to choose one ingredient as a favourite partly because my tastes change throughout the year. It is lovely watching different fruit and vegetables come into season – cherries, fresh peas and broad beans in the early summer; English apples and plums in autumn; squash and pumpkins as we move into winter – and it can be equally enjoyable saying goodbye to them, too, as their season comes to an end. I enjoy the challenge of trying new things.
What’s your favourite recipe?
One of my favourite dishes to cook is a rich cheesy risotto. I use our Arborio rice and usually a combination of cheeses.