Classlist talks to Jane Noraika from Food by Jane and her passion for cooking and how she enjoys working with her local community.
Q1: What is your business and why did you set it up?
My business is event catering and teaching. I was made redundant a couple of years ago when Food for Thought in Covent Garden closed after 40 years of business. I was Head Chef there for over 20 years so I was looking for a complete change. I used to cater for events via the restaurant so it was a natural progression to go it alone.
Q2: What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
I love the idea of building up a business, having control of it and allowing it to represent things that I’m passionate about. I enjoy the flexibility it brings to my life. It can be terrifying having my own business especially if I have had no enquires for a week or so. However, the buzz and thrill of cooking for an event and seeing happy clients faces is a wonderfully addictive experience.
Q3: What is your favourite part of being an entrepreneur?
Flexibility is really important for me, especially with 2 young children. I also love being able to take the business in other directions. Teaching children and young adults cooking skills. Igniting an interest in where food comes from and the endless positives of cooking for yourself gives me enormous pleasure.
Q4: Why did you locate your business in this area? What do you like about it?
My business is based where I live, essentially as its convenient. I’ve lived in SE13 for 10 years now and I love it! I enjoy being in close proximity to central London but also enjoy living with so much green space near by – Blackheath and Greenwich Park give a wonderful balance to London living.
Q5: Who inspires you most? Why?
My inspirational chef has to be Ottelenghi. He has given vegetables a prominence and status on the plate and people the confidence to be more experimental in the way they cook them. On a personal level my 2 children inspire me every day. They have such wise heads on young shoulders.
Q6: What memory do you have of your own school days?
The smell of school dinners! Rice pudding and jam – I didn’t last for long and had packed lunches. There are certain foods I haven’t eaten to this day because of school dinners. This must be bound up in my decision to teach children healthy eating.