Ben McAndrews & Joe Coulter
Food Stylist & Recipe Writer
London, United Kingdom
Leiths Three Term Diploma in Food and Wine
Ben and Joe, who both graduated from Leiths one year apart, now co-own vegan meal delivery service PEP Kitchen. Their mission is to revolutionise the ready meal and inspire people to eat more plant-based food by creating delicious, frozen vegan meals, delivered straight to our doors in sustainable packaging. Prior to this joint business venture, Ben and Joe spent nearly ten years working in restaurants, where they met.
Life before Leiths
Before Leiths, Joe studied Business Management at university and Ben studied Architecture. They both graduated and felt the same draw and desire to follow their passion for food, as opposed to going along with the career directions which their respective degrees pointed them in. They tell us there’s “no regrets there yet!”
Top things you learnt at Leiths?
“Kitchen confidence, great friends and parsley dust” – Joe
“100% confirmed I wanted a career in food, classical cooking techniques and great friends.” – Ben
“Also, we had a great foundation of skills which ultimately aided us in our survival of restaurant kitchens, and it was Leiths’ connections to restaurants that gave us our introduction into Terroirs, which ultimately kick-started our careers. It’s such a great network of people and alumni, really inspiring and motivational individuals that keep you going and help you remind yourself why we chose the career path we did.”
What are you most proud of?
“Well! We both actually won the coveted “Runner Up Student of The Year Award” and I think we’re pretty proud of that, I don’t like to bring it up too often but I also won the “Highest Practical Exam Score Award” in the final term of Leiths, which I am exceptionally proud of… Although, not going to lie, both myself and Ben are still bitter about not winning first place student of the year and we have considered petitioning for a runners up board on the wall…or a rematch.”
In your eyes, what might the future of the food industry look like for today’s grads?
“It’s been such a challenging year for the food industry, especially for restaurants. But there is always opportunity – it might look very different to how it did 6-12 months ago but maybe that’s quite exciting for new graduates! I think we are going to certainly see a boom in meal delivery companies and dark kitchen concepts, which might create exciting opportunities for the more entrepreneurial graduates.
And from our point of view we see the food industry becoming even more green and vegan, it has to – we need to reduce the amount of animal products we consume as a society in order to save our planet and improve our health. So I think we will continue to see plant-based innovations and I would encourage all young chefs to put their creativity into making vegan food epic and delicious, because that’s how we will see future change for the better, it will come from the Leiths graduates of the future!”