At ICCA, we have seen many aspiring food entrepreneurs in the making and achieving their goals as soon as they enter the industry. However, Karl Bishop and Georgina Morton, our Amateur Cookery students took one step ahead and made it all happen within a short span of time while they were still studying in ICCA. They met at ICCA, became friends and their friendship bloomed to a wonderful business partnership which gave birth to an amazing idea, Oscar & Jemima’s which is named after their gorgeous kids.
Oscar & Jemima’s is a digital initiative that was born out of a shared passion for food by Georgie & Karl to encourage home cooking in our busy lifestyle. Their vision and thoughts encourage us to go back to homemade foods even if we are busy and used to takeaways. Here, we have Karl and Georgie talking about their homemade meal plan venture and the story behind this unique idea.
Shruti: Tell us about Oscar & Jemima’s?
Georgie: We are the region’s first recipe subscription website with the aim of helping busy mums with their mid-week dinners and lunch packs. For minimal cost, you can subscribe and be sent you dinner recipes for the week and a downloadable shopping list too. In addition to making life easier, we are trying to encourage people to cook more and take responsibility for what they are feeding themselves and their families. It’s important to know what goes into your food. Also, cooking is fun when done with the family and mealtimes bring families together.
Shruti: It’s a great concept but how is it different from a food blog?
Karl: Very different as you don’t have to spend time flicking through recipe books, trawling websites to find inspiration for meal times – we do all the research and send inspiring, easy-to-make and interesting recipes straight to our subscribers every Thursday so they have the weekend to shop and then not have to worry about what they’re going to cook every night.
Shruti: Are all the recipes created exclusively at Oscar& Jemima’s or you use the classic ones as well?
Georgie: We make, test and write all the recipes and take inspiration and knowledge from our love and years of cooking for our families and ourselves. We have also honed our skills and learnt some of the very important classic basics of cookery through our Diploma course at ICCA.
Shruti: What inspired you to come up with an idea like this?
Georgie: Being a working mum, and even before I was a mum, working long hours and then getting home and having to think about dinners was always a pain for me. Even though I love cooking I didn’t always have the time and energy to find the inspiration every night. Imagining I’m not the only person who feels like that, I wanted to help inspire people and take that stress away from their day. One of our first customers commented what a relief it was not having to think about dinners, trawl recipe books, websites and magazines for ideas, and loved that someone else was writing her shopping list, so based on that I think we are succeeding to fill a much-needed gap.
Shruti: Karl, you told us that you always wanted to do something in the food industry but what’s Georgie’s story like, and how did this partnership happen?
Georgie: I have always been passionate about food and cooking, my mum inspired and taught me to cook and I also studied hotel management at the university. My life then took a detour away from food to video production and photography for a while but I always had the underlying knowledge that I would follow my dream to do something in the culinary industry when the time was right.
After quitting my job and taking the plunge, I researched the best courses to help fill some technical gaps and found ICCA to be the best school to attend in the region for what I needed. The option of attending weekends or weekday mornings was great too. Two months into the course I met Karl and sharing a similar passion, I started coming to school each day with new ideas of how we could work together in the food industry. I was sure he was the person to work with and that this was the right time to start and so it was.
Shruti: How do you split the responsibilities at Oscar & Jemima’s?
Karl: We both love cooking so we both cook, Georgie photographs the recipes, edits the images and we both share the load of managing the website, blogs, social media, typing the recipes and shopping lists, marketing and all the other administrative sides.
Shruti: How was your experience in ICCA?
Karl & Georgie: ICCA has been an eye-opener for both of us in terms of the food knowledge, not only on the theory side but also understanding the fundamentals of classic cooking. The chefs have been great fun, knowledgeable and are very supportive to work with and the energy in the ICCA kitchen is amazingly inspiring; it does have the feeling of being an energetic happy family. It was also such a great opportunity that ICCA gave us to work with their teams at Taste of Dubai.
Shruti: Why didn’t you both pursue the professional program?
Georgie: Neither of us had the desire to work in a professional kitchen nor were we able to give the commitment of 6 long days a week, both having young children. We felt the course we chose was right for what we needed to achieve from it. Besides, one of my goals when signing up for the course was to meet someone like me with the dream of working in the food industry. Besides we are both too old to be on our feet that many hours a day, 6 days a week.
Q. Forgot to ask about Oscar and Jemima. Are they fond of food?
Georgie: Oscar is my 6-year-old son and Jemima is Karl’s daughter and she is 3. In Oscar’s case, ‘fond’ is an understatement. I am very lucky as he eats almost anything. You can guarantee he will ask me what’s for dinner when he wakes up in the morning and he always says; “it’s because your cooking is so delicious mummy”(Laughs).
I think he’s biased.
Jemima is younger than Oscar, so she is still exploring what she likes and doesn’t like. As of now, blueberry pancakes seem to be a favourite. I do think if children are brought up in a house where one or both of the parents cook they will have an interest in food and what they eat. I found Oscar experimenting the other day making himself dough for a pizza and then photographing it so I would say he has a healthy interest in food and is paying attention to what I am doing.
Karl: Let’s see how Oscar & Jemima’s influence their lifestyles as they grow up.