Monthly Archives: May 2012

Fast Track

A great day listening to inspirational business leaders from Innocent, Mind Candy and ASOS and dinner with Sir Richard Branson to follow.

Growing fast has its challenges and the team at Diet Chef have really worked incredibly hard coping with this, but it’s more fun than growing slowly!


Working with young “entrepreneurs”

I have been very lucky to be introduced to lots of very experienced business people. Although they might be classified as “entrepreneurs” they usually have quite safe, successful businesses and are more risk averse than you would think (they have more to lose!)

There is nothing more exciting for me than to meet someone with little more than an idea and the drive and passion to risk everything (usually meaning not a lot) to try and make that idea a business.

I have historically tried to back people that have this gem of an idea with either advice, money or contacts to allow them to be successful and I think we should make both financial and time commitments to do this without any requirements to get a “slice of the pie”.

I do believe strongly in helping if I can and the easy thing is to write a cheque, the harder thing is to give up some time. My 2012 mission is to try and help more people who want to start businesses, profit, not for profit or social.

My big challenge is I truly understand the plight of a small team or individual with an business idea but less so a social idea, so my personal challenge is to find someone in the third sector that I can relate to and build a meaningful cause/business with.

Tough challenge I think!

Well done Dietchef


It was with great honour that I picked up our award for 3rd place in the Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track at Richard Branson’s Oxfordshire home yesterday.

We are only 4 years old but we have been relentless in our focus in developing our range, offering and customer base just like we were when we first started.

The entire team at Diet Chef should be proud of this achievement as should our customers who have supported us through our development.

We haven’t always got things right and growing pains have sometimes held us back, but we are now in a great position to extend our range and customers both in the UK and Europe.

Well done!


East coast train service

At Diet Chef we used to travel quite a lot by train from Edinburgh to London. That was in the good old days when GNER ran the service.

It was quite relaxing after a full day of meetings to get on the 18:00 from Kings Cross to Edinburgh and enjoy dinner and a glass of wine.

The service was sometimes a little regimented and we were excluded from sitting down on numerous occasions by the restaurant “monitor” (remind me of school dinners) but I still reminisce about these train journeys.

Fast forward a few years and the UK government are using the same staff to run the new service. First Class restaurant car and chefs have disappeared and complimentary menus have been introduced* (*subject to certain restrictions, conditions apply, the likelihood of having food is very likely to go down but not up).

The first issue with this customers who tend to travel first class are not price sensitive and adding a meal to there costs in comparison to the train fare is no major issue. So making everything complimentary seems to be subtext to reduce the quality of the service.

Today I am travelling from York to Edinburgh at lunchtime, here is an example.

Menu R4

Chicken and stuffing
egg and roasted tomato sandwiches

All served with hand cooked crisps


Fish pie with white wine and watercress sauce
Served with fries

Jacket potato and classic ratatouille
Garnished with mixed leaf salad and balsamic dressing


Dorothy Wordsworth house Madeira & caraway seed cake


A selection of fruit One apple

So over 50% of the menu was off from York, surely availability is known and demand planning can be done. If not why bother offering it. what’s your thoughts?

UPDATE: Mark Terry, head of on board catering at East Coast emailed to say that they had lost their logistics provider 4 weeks ago to administration. This should be resolved soon.