5 minutes with Emma Heal, Lucky Saint

12 November 2021, 07:32 AM
  • Speciality Food speaks to Emma Heal, managing director of Lucky Saint, to discover what inspires her about the food industry today
5 minutes with Emma Heal, Lucky Saint

What would you be doing if you weren’t in the food industry?

My alternative dream job would be travelling around the world with Lady Gaga as one of her backing dancers. My two young daughters would love dressing up backstage, so she’d have to employ them too.

What was your first job?

I cut my teeth in the world of food and drink when I joined Tesco as a graduate buyer. Before I was allowed anywhere near a negotiation or product development table, I spent six months in the Cheshunt Extra store, working my way around each department. It was bloody hard work but proved to be a brilliant training ground for my subsequent roles with Innocent, Diageo, Graze and now Lucky Saint. 

What inspires you?

Without sounding overly cheesy, it’s the people I work with. Learning about areas of the business that I have no experience in sparks my creative energy. I am blown away by the brilliant people who surround me and still marvel every time our founder, Luke Boase, explains how our beer is brewed for six weeks in accordance with the original Pilsner recipe of 1845.

What’s the worst job you’ve done?

The toughest times have been when I’ve worked for an organisation where my personal values weren’t aligned. There’s no worse feeling for me and is always a sure sign that it’s time to check out.

What’s your favourite part of the job?

Hands down, it’s been building our incredible team. During the first lockdown, there were just the four of us and we’ve now grown to a super motivated team of 30. Heading into the office on a Monday morning and feeling the buzz puts a real spring in my step.

And your least favourite?

Right now, it’s waiting impatiently for footfall to fully bounce back. I really feel for hospitality. The challenges they have faced have been off the scale and the positivity and resilience shown by the industry has been inspirational – next time you head out, make sure you thank your servers! 

How about the food industry?

We’d love the government and the food/drink industry to collaborate and really champion the physical and mental health benefits of people moderating their alcohol consumption, even slightly! The quality of alcohol-free drinks has improved massively, abstaining doesn’t mean sacrificing these days.

Tea or coffee?

Tea please. Milk, no sugar and a biscuit if it’s going.

What would be your last supper?

Pizza Pilgrims Margherita with a negroni to start, followed by an Honest Burger and their legendary rosemary chips all washed down with a few pints of Lucky Saint. I’d finish it all off with my mum’s apple crumble and throw in an affogato for good measure.

What’s your motto?

At Lucky Saint, the team and I created three values we all live by everyday: Be Generous, Stay Humble and Get Lucky.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?

I’ve tried some weird, wonderful and not so wonderful things over the years, but I guess it’d be when I was backpacking with a girlfriend in Indonesia and we drank coffee made from beans that had been ‘extracted’ from the bottom of a marsupial. 

What’s your favourite book?

Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne. So many lessons for life in those beautiful pages.

Sweet or savoury?

Sweet popcorn at the bottom of the carton, salty on top – does that count?

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