Latest Spoon intern James Howells has been working us over his university summer holiday. As yesterday was his final day, we’ve handed the reigns of the blog over to him and he’s written a little bit about his time here below…
We’re all set for interns for the next couple of months but are always on the look out for new, enthusiastic people for future projects. If you’re interested, send your CV and a short note to Alice (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Thank you for all your help James! x
I had just finished my second year of university for summer. My exams were finished, I had moved out my student house and I was now staring at 5 months of nothingness. Like any student, I spend a lot of my time doing nothing, but even for a student, five months is a bit too much. I decided that I needed to work and saying that, it needed to be real work and somehow after two years of studying journalism, Subway didn’t have that same appeal anymore. I knew I liked to work with food; my mother is the manager of a school canteen which is often used for functions where I would help out on weekends when I was younger. I got money for the weekends in college working as a waiter and before that almost all of the part time jobs I had were in some way connected to food. But a lot had changed since my days as a sandwich artist and despite the heinous bastardization of the words ‘artist’ and ‘Subway’, being used in the same sentence; I knew that food could be art and the chefs who made it, artists. I couldn’t be a chef, my only formal training was a half an hour video I watched in the back room of the Subway I was working in, somehow, I didn’t think many places would take me, and to be honest, I didn’t really want anywhere to take me. Still, I wanted to work with food, but I felt more comfortable and fulfilled with writing, which is why I studied journalism, but thankfully, the two can go hand in hand.
I wanted to understand the way a writer could be incorporated into the creation and running of a restaurant, not critical of them, but an assistant to the service. Most of the time, the restaurants that people are talking about aren’t the ones being advertised. Behind these restaurants is often a PR team who, through writing, meetings, photographs and events make sure make sure these restaurants are found. This pairing of passions seemed like an ideal venture for me to embark on. I began my research looking for a company who would match the way I thought about food and the restaurant industry and through this, I found Spoon. Spoon is a relatively small agency based in London with clients the world over, including a haven tucked away in South Africa’s wine region, whose head chef who was crowned Chef of the Year last year and another which is at number three on ‘The World’s 50 Best Restaurants’ list. I decided to email Spoon, who, with decades of experiences, and their small, refined team, made feel slightly intimidated. To my surprise I received a very welcoming email a couple of hours later saying they wanted to meet me, and eleven weeks later, I am still here and I have learnt more in those eleven weeks than the half hour training video at Subway could even begin to fathom.
The most interesting part for me, is watching the whole PR process. From an initial email or phone conversation, a client is taken on, a lot of conversations take place, ideas are sparked, and a final idea is refined and conceptualized, then the elbow grease is applied and the hard work begins. One of the first projects I had to work on was for Matt Tebbutt’s cookbook, ‘Guilty Pleasures’. To publicize the book with producers, editors and freelance writers we sent them review copies, and in a small number of cases where we wanted to make a particularly impactful delivery, we created ‘Guilty Pleasures’ Hampers that would be sent to various figures in the media along with a review copy. I was also lucky enough to spend a day working on a photo shoot for Le Parfait jars, for their Christmas publicity campaign. As I had never been on a photo shoot before it was interesting to see how a small studio space in Hackney, along with a creative mind from Spoon, an amazing end result was reached. I was at times allowed to try my hand at writing press releases for clients and to have my work critiqued by such experienced members of the industry helped me out a lot. I was particularly impressed with was the relationship Spoon maintained with their clients, their consistency really shone out to me, every client was handled with the same amount of hard work and effort which was very apparent when looking at the finished product.
My time at Spoon has been invaluable to me and I feel the experience I have gained here a long with building a working relationship with some of the most admirable and hardworking people I have ever met will be something that will give me an edge over everyone else in my career path, and to gain this so early on is something I am extremely grateful for. I would like to thank Ailsa Wheeler, Alice Stanners and in particular Sarah Canet for everything they have done for me during my time at Spoon and hopefully my departure from the office only means I am closer to working with them again in the future.