5 Minutes with Nat Cooper, Simply Roasted

13 April 2022, 07:47 AM
  • Nat Cooper, senior trade lead at Simply Roasted reveals her three-course last supper, world record aspirations and love of coffee
5 Minutes with Nat Cooper, Simply Roasted

What would you be doing if you weren’t in the food industry?
Attempting the World Record for crossing the channel in a pedalo.

What was your first job?
Working as a cashier for my local Waitrose which I enjoyed. It gave me a lot of confidence talking to different people every day, made sweeter by the staff discount. They were a really good business to work for, although the green shirt was a hard one to pull off.

What inspires you?
A challenger brand genuinely shaking up the category.

What’s the worst job you’ve ever done?
I had a temp job testing that a satellite navigation’s battery worked. It involved carefully unpacking the TomTom device, turning it on/off and then repacking it. I lasted until lunchtime then left.

What’s your favourite part of the job?
Seeing the product you’ve developed hit the shelves. There’s so much work that goes into a brand before it’s available to consumers, with the all important ‘yes’ from a buyer being testament to that.

And your least favourite?
Admin. Sales professionals are notorious for it. We love focusing on the highs of the win versus the form-filling that comes afterwards.

How about the food industry?
I struggle with the environmental impact of the industry, especially the expectation from buyers and retailers that mainstream brands and start-ups should be equally responsible in their sustainability commitments. Economies of scale, lack of resource and cashflow mean it’s not always feasible for young brands to incorporate green credentials into their business model from the start.

Tea or Coffee?
100% coffee. I treated myself to a SAGE Barista Pro last year and it’s a game changer. The adjustable grind size, single estate coffee, monitoring extraction time. Yeah, I’m one of those.

What would be your last supper?
Breakfast is simple: A toasted hot cross bun with butter, an oat flat white and a Moju Ginger shot.
Lunch: Nut Roast Xmas dinner with all the trimmings, courtesy of the culinary wizard, my Mum.
Dinner: A traditional Panang tofu curry with rice paper rolls dipped in peanut sauce.
Nightcap: An old-fashioned.

What’s your motto?
“Happiness only real when shared” – Christopher McCandless

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
I’ve been vegetarian since I was 10 so nothing too crazy. On a school trip to Italy in the 90s, they were very confused with what to feed me. I ended up with a lettuce and salad they had ‘warmed up’. Nothing else. I think my dietary requirements may have been translated wrong.

What’s your favourite book?
Into the Wild – Jon Krakauer

Sweet or savoury?
Crisps have a special place in my heart. Savoury is the front-runner for 2022.

more like this
close stay up-to-date with our free newsletter | expert intel | tailored industry news | new-to-know trend analysis | sign up | speciality food daily briefing