Northallerton foodie Calum Smith has earned a new job as a top sausage designer at Heck Food in Bedale after an interview watched by four million on TV.
Last evening Calum was seen going head to head with the UK’s top food scientists as candidates were put through their paces, alongside some of Britain’s best loved and well know brands; Rolls Royce, Virgin Trains and Champneys.
Heck co-founders Andrew and Debbie Keeble were on the hunt for a new product developer at ‘Sausage World’, the Yorkshire HQ of Heck Foods. Debbie said: “The job is about creativity and science, all wrapped up into a delicious package of food.”
Calum said: “I saw the job advertised and realised I had to go for it. I have always loved food, my grandparents and parents owned bakeries and I’ve been cooking with my parents since I was a little boy. I have always loved experimenting with different flavours. The job at Heck was my dream job.”
But Calum knew he had to go the extra mile as there was fierce competition and in the end, it was a battle between youth and experience. One of the strong contenders was 55-year-old Stuart, who has a background in takeaway pizza “dip pots” and scotch eggs. Heck co-founder Debbie Keeble admits on screen that Calum was the “wild card”, but that he made the shortlist because he hand-delivered his CV to Andrew and Debbie’s family home.
“We were approached by the producers as they really like the ethos of Heck and could see that we were shaking up the sausage and burger market” explains Debbie. “We wanted to share our “what the Heck” approach to inspire people to work in food, and also felt it was a great opportunity to recruit for our new product developer from the best of the food scientists that are in the country. We are constantly innovating, so we needed a mixture of creativity and science.”
“What was hugely impressive about Calum was his amazing palette” says Andrew, “It was one of the most important parts of the role as we need someone who can really experiment with flavour/ I was bowled over by Calum who was the only candidate who could identify all the flavours in the taste test. Our strapline is “flavour you can swear by”, so we needed someone who could live up to this.
Calum is seen on the programme being offered the job and has been working at Heck for six months. “It’s been a fantastic experience so far” says Calum. “I’ve already developed and launched a new range of skinless sausages called Naked and been given the creative freedom to look at whole new ranges of vegan and vegetarian food. It’s a fantastic environment to work in and I’d like to think I’ve inspired other young people to say “What the Heck” and get in touch to see what opportunities there are.”