Gemma Bartlett

Business Owner, Wild Health

Every day for me is different, some days I am in the kitchen prepping and trying out new recipes, making and delivering cakes. On the days that I work in the trailer, I get there a few hours before I’m due to open, so generally around 8 or 9am. I unload the car with all the food I have prepared the night before and all the ingredients for the day, fill the fridge, wipe down the counters and start my prep. All the food is made from scratch so it can take quite a long time. Then I write the menu boards and open up. Generally the few hours over lunch and dinner are manic and the trailer is quite small inside, so it can get messy when preparing the hot dishes. Closing time differs massively depending on what the event is, so sometimes I’m sold out and tidied up by 6pm and other times still serving at 11pm and still need to clean everything and get back in the kitchen to prepare for the next day.

What do you think are the three most important skills to succeed in your career area?
The ability to cook and prepare delicious food! Excellent customer service skills, as working in the trailer you are face to face with customers all day and self-motivation.

Was this something you planned to do or did you change direction at any point in the past? If so, what was that and was it easy to do?
I started my working life in Finance but it wasn’t the right career path for me, my main interests have always been to do with health but I never really considered catering as an option, even though I have always loved to make healthy meals and to feed people. When I had my daughter, 3 years ago, I had time off to really think about what I wanted to do when I went back to work, I realised that I wanted to create a job that was flexible, fun, varied and that I could do whilst looking after a young child. Wild Health was created as a lifestyle brand and I constantly have ideas of how it can change and evolve, not necessarily down the catering route, which is the beauty of having your own company, you get to make all the decisions!

What do you love most about working in your career area?
I love making it easier for people to make healthy food choices, and I really like showing people what you can do with all wholefood, natural ingredients, and inspiring them to try at home for themselves. I also really enjoy the flexibility and variation that comes with working in a different place at a different event every week.

Are there any negative aspects of working in your career area that people considering it should be aware of?
There is a lot of time spent preparing before an event and it’s hard to judge the amount that will sell, if the weather is bad or the event isn’t well attended and I’ve judged it wrong there’s the risk of financial loss, I pay anywhere between £50 – £250 a day in rent and then there is the towing fees and the cost of the ingredients as well. So the most negative aspect would definitely be the risk factor.

What training / qualifications did you undertake for your current role or are you currently undertaking?
I did a Health Educator course at Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida where I gained certifications as a raw food chef. Other than
that it was my interest in all things healthy and my love of creating awesome nutritious food that compelled me to start the company, sometimes being passionate about something can be more important than having lots of qualifications in it.

Is there any other information that would be of interest to someone thinking of this career?
Most events are at the weekends so you could miss out on lots of social activities, and also mainly between April and October, so think about how you could create work in the winter months. With a catering van or trailer there is always the possibility that something may go wrong! I have had flat tyres, electricity failures, breakages when going over really bumpy ground to get to some pitches, gas tanks running out in the middle of a busy event. All these kind of things need to be taken into account, it’s not always as easy or straight forward as it seems.