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The Co-op chef who’s hooked on the food industry

“There’s no industry like the food industry,” says Dai Llewellyn. “No other industry encapsulates all of your senses in the same way.”

Dai is Head Chef of Product Development at Co-op UK, but it didn’t always looks like he would have a successful food career.

In fact, he started out studying a business degree: “I fell into a world of business by sort of doing what I thought I was meant to do, or what my parents expected me to do.”

Everything changed for him when he got his first job in a restaurant. He says he was instantly hooked after experiencing the comradery and fun: “There was just an amazing buzz around the place.”

Before taking on his role at Co-op, Dai worked in a number of high-end restaurants, and he used to work in sandwich development at Greencore.

He even won some awards, including one for, what he calls “just a chicken sandwich”. We think he’s being modest.

Listen to full episode to find out why he finds the food industry so exciting, why he believes experience is not the be-all and end-all, and what you can expect to earn if you manage to have a career as successful as Dai’s.

Dai Llewellyn, Executive Chef of Product Development, Co-op UK

Dai has always been fascinated with food, not only the creative, immersive nature of it but its power to share heritage and stories.

His food journey started within a small local restaurant in his hometown of Mumbles, Swansea learning and soaking up the hustle and buzz the hospitality industry has to offer before he made the decision to further and test himself in fine dining and made the move to London.

He was lucky enough to work in some great kitchens and gain several mentors within the industry which have immensely helped shape his career so far.

It is the continuous learning element of food that drove him to make the change out of restaurants and into product development. Starting with food manufactures such as Greencore and Bakkavor and brands such as Charlie Bigham’s was a amazing journey into food retail and gave him great understanding of the processes, teams and challenges faced.

He has also had experience within retailers themselves having previously held positions in Waitrose and now in his current role as Executive Chef of Product Development at Co-op.

His current role help bring together food trends and culinary knowledge to support the team’s of product developers to deliver not only new and exciting products but delicious, convenient, accessible food and drink.

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