"I think the biggest challenge is the current economic issues. Both businesses and people are struggling right now. This means business is quite quiet at the moment. In terms of overcoming it - watch this space."
Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?
Hi, I'm Niki and I'm a plant-based chef, food blogger, and cookbook author. I've been working for myself for 6 years now and love it.
What does your job involve? What happens on a typical day?
The main thing my job involves is recipe development, either for my social channels, brands, or my cookbooks. A typical day for me involves spending most of the day in the kitchen creating recipes, then styling, photographing, and editing the images. And lots and lots of washing up! There's also lots of planning, research, admin, emails, zoom calls, etc. I typically post on my social channels in the evening and reply to comments etc. When I'm not working from home, I also occasionally teach workshops, do demos, and attend events.
What’s great about what you do?
There are many great things about my job. Firstly the creativity - every day I get to create food, style, and photograph it. I also love working for myself and the flexibility that offers - even though I work long hours, it's on my terms. But one of the best things is seeing people cooking and enjoying my recipes - that makes me so proud and happy.
What are the toughest parts of your job?
The toughest part (on the flip side) is the uncertainty. It’s a bit scary when there is no guaranteed money and jobs coming in - especially at the moment. That can be quite stressful.
What are the highlights of your career to date?
My biggest highlights to date:
Getting my first book deal - was the absolute best feeling!
I've been able to visit some amazing places to discover their plant-based cuisines - India, Dubai, and the Caribbean
Working with some incredible brands and businesses
What's been the biggest challenge so far in your career? How did you overcome it?
I think the biggest challenge is the current economic issues. Both businesses and people are struggling right now. This means business is quite quiet at the moment. In terms of overcoming it - watch this space.
What was your career path into this job? Have you also worked outside the arts?
I studied sociology and criminology at uni then got a graduate trainee job, eventually moving into food marketing. I worked in food marketing at a few companies, specialising in digital marketing.
Have you noticed any changes in the industry in recent times? If so, what?
There have been so many changes!
Here are the main ones;
- People are more focused and interested in sustainability and plant-based which is amazing
- Brands and businesses are struggling because of the economic situation - there are not so many campaigns available
- The creative market is far more saturated than a few years ago
- There’s a drive towards more authentic and less curated content
- Video is everything!
How has your background, upbringing, and education had an impact on your artistic career?
Growing up in the countryside has had a big impact on me. Many of my friends grew up on farms or small holdings. Seasonal food was always available - it’s still important to me now. Travelling around Asia and the Middle East in my 20s had a profound impact on my food tastes and inspiration. You can see this in my recipe creation.
You’ve been granted the ability to send a message to 16-year-old you. What do you say?
I was extremely shy and not very confident at 16. I would love to send a message to say - trust that you will find your way, just take one step at a time. But I had a lot of fun - I wouldn’t want to change any of that.
Do you have any advice for young people interested in your field?
I would say, practice and experiment until you feel semi-confident and just start creating content authentically. But don’t wait until you think everything is perfect - just get out there and learn as you go. The best bit is seeing things grow and seeing your skills improve.
Where can people find you and your work online?