Beginning a new job at a new company is as thrilling as it is daunting. I’m sure most of you will know the experience well, we’ve all been there at some point. I began my role as a Creative Content Executive at Fooditude on 9th March 2020, full to the brim with that ‘new job’ feeling and blissfully unaware that a wave of change from COVID-19 was fast approaching.
The first two weeks at Fooditude gave me a chance to sit down and have a chat with people working across the business. I was pleasantly surprised by the warm welcome I received, but also how dedicated everyone across the team was in making sure our clients were getting the best possible service. Fooditude is the Usain Bolt of company culture – it’s miles ahead of anything I’ve ever been part of when it comes to a shared purpose.
There’s this compulsory initiative at Fooditude where absolutely everyone who joins, whether they’re an accountant or a sous chef, must do an induction day working in the kitchen; no if’s, no but’s! I admit, I was a little nervous at first. In the days I worked in a restaurant – my place was always in front of house, I was the guy who served the food – not somebody who had the wizardry to turn ingredients into something delicious.
Once I was kitted out in my chef gear (which included a very sporting beard snood) I set out into the vast 20,000 sq ‘ft kitchen to get to work. The chefs had the patience of saints when teaching me how to cut and peel cucumbers, dice parsley, amongst other tasks. It was rewarding to be part of the process in cooking meals from scratch, knowing that in a couple of hours the very same meals would be feeding hungry office workers across London.
My induction day in the kitchen was also the moment I realised that the effects of the pandemic were creeping into our business. Speaking with the kitchen team, I discovered that we were only producing half the amount of meals than we usually did. Some of our clients were starting to take action against the virus and were asking their teams to work from home.
In my first two weeks in my role, I followed Swati Deshpande, Fooditude’s Marketing Manager. We worked at clients’ offices together and I was quick to learn that Swati was pretty much good friends with everyone we met, including the Fooditude teams working on-site for our clients, facilities managers, office managers – you name it!
I couldn’t have had a better first two weeks at Fooditude without the help of Swati. She got me up to speed with who’s who, the nuts and bolts of the company, the way the catering industry works as well as the marketing magic behind the Fooditude brand. Then on that fateful day, news was spreading of an imminent full lockdown – I left London on my return home gazing outside the train window, looking out on the Thames with a troubled feeling that it was going to be a long time before I’d be able to reunite with London again.