21 April, 2016

A career milestone

Sue is a Product Development Manager for M&S, focusing on ‘Food on the move’ and hospitality innovation. She has worked in the Food Division for almost 20 years – and the Patron’s Lunch celebrating the Queen’s 90th birthday is one of the biggest projects she’s worked on.

I work with a fantastic team of product developers. We’ve all hugely enjoyed working on the Patron’s Lunch. Creating and delivering 10,000 hampers on The Mall, feeding the 5,000 (quite literally!) volunteers and delivering a superb in-store range has been a real career milestone. I’ll be at the event on 12 June and I’m very much looking forward to seeing the guests opening and enjoying their hampers. It will give me a real sense of achievement. 

Being chosen to help celebrate the Her Majesty’s 90th birthday has been a real accolade. I think this was very much down to our reputation for providing the very best quality. We have really strong relationships with some amazing suppliers too – and this, together with our passion for innovation, put is in poll position to secure this prestigious event.

The menus were inspired by the great British summer picnic; so we sourced ingredients from every corner of the British Isles. Again, this is where our supplier relationships, some of which stretch back decades, came into their own. Many are experts in their own fields. This means we know we can be confident in delivering to our high standards. We also regularly benchmark our products by visiting centres of excellence to make sure we’re developing products of the very best quality and appearance. 

We sample a number of the menu options (it’s a hard life, isn’t it?) and then carefully selected the very best recipes to create the menu. Seeing it all come together – with its unique design and wicker basket – and then having the opportunity to taste with the Patrons’ Committee was really exciting. I was so proud.

It’s hard to pick a favourite item but if I absolutely had to choose one, I’d have to say the Free Range Pembrokeshire chicken roulade salad with Wye Valley Asparagus, Cornish New Potatoes, pea shoots and a herb drizzle. It’s delicious, fresh tasting  and captures the flavours of a British summer – ideal for a picnic on the Mall even if it’s for 10, 000 people.

No project I have worked on has been so exciting. I can’t wait until 12th June!

Inside M&S