Name: Laura Matthews
Job title: Nutritionist
Time in current role: 2 years
Laura is the Director at Laura Matthews Nutrition Ltd and the former Head of Nutrition for Jamie Oliver. Visit her website here.
Why did you decide to start your business?
I have a BSc (Hons) in Food and Nutrition and a MSc degree in Food Technology & Quality Assurance, so a career in food was always in my sights! It definitely helped that my mum sent me for cooking lessons at the age of nine which really inspired and encouraged my passion for it. I became a registered nutritionist in 2012 with the Association for Nutrition (AfN) which lets the public know that I’m an accredited nutritionist who offers evidence-based advice.
My career has naturally evolved with time. I worked for a number of food manufacturers in product development before starting work with Jamie Oliver in 2008 which lead to me working my way up and carving out a role as Head of Nutrition working across his campaigns, books, food retail products and restaurants.
At the end of 2017 I started my own business. After working for Jamie in my dream job for almost 10 years I’d achieved all I set out to so it was time for a change.
Be clear in your mind what your niche is and what your goals are so that you can be definitive about what work you will and won’t take on and who you want to work with
What are the key functions of your role?
I work with London borough councils, independent nurseries and school food catering providers to review the quality of food being served. This is ultimately to raise standards and make improvements. Work often includes meetings with chefs, cooks and teachers to better understand the challenges they face with providing food to children in education settings.
I also work with food businesses and brands to implement company nutrition standards so that they work to public health voluntary and mandatory food legislation, for example, salt targets. This includes Kiddylicious, a children’s food company that I work closely with to help with their nutrition enquiries. I also write blogs for their website which help parents who are weaning their children.
Talk us through your typical working day
My daily routine is varied and dependent on what projects I’m juggling at the time and the stage they’re at. I’m in regular meetings with current clients and frequently set aside time in my schedule to plan ahead to make sure I’m focussing on getting future work too. I’ve always felt it important to keep checking in with myself on smaller goals so that I can stay on track for those bigger ambitions. I frequently spend time planning content for Instagram and working on maintaining my website.
I always take a lunch break and usually head out to my nearest Waitrose to have a look at the latest food trends and products.
I like to think I’m making a difference in helping better arm staff with the knowledge to serve the best food possible to children. For some children what they eat at school is the only hot meal they eat in a day
Your favourite part of the job?
With the work I do I like to think I’m making a difference in helping better arm staff with the knowledge to serve the best food possible to children. For some children what they eat at school is the only hot meal they eat in a day.
Through my work with Kiddylicious and on my Instagram account I hope I’m making a difference and offering people, especially parents and caregivers, useful information for weaning and beyond. Those early years of feeding little ones can be overwhelming, daunting and challenging unless you’re armed with informed advice and simple approaches.
…and the part you could do without?
There isn’t much, as otherwise I’d think I was in the wrong career! But having to keep track of expenses and finance paperwork for my accountant doesn’t excite me much.
I recently qualified as a Personal Trainer and Sports Nutrition Advisor. I’m keen to have more than one strand to my working life and career
How would your clients describe you in three words?
Dedicated, conscientious and lovely.
Plans for the future?
I recently qualified as a personal trainer and sports nutrition advisor. I’m keen to have more than one strand to my working life and career which is an idea and topic that I learnt more about from Emma Gannon’s The Multi-Hyphen Method.
Do you have any advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs?
Be clear in your mind what your niche is and what your goals are so that you can be definitive about what work you will and won’t take on and who you want to work with.
Also, get yourself a good accountant, ideally one that is a personal recommendation. They can be hugely beneficial especially at the beginning in those early days of business. LLY