Jamie and jimmy with Kirsty Rushby and Liz Cassells

With our Co-op being featured on C4 at 8pm tonight in Jamie & Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast (that’s twice this week, after The Apprentice on Wednesday), Kirsty Rushby from our PR team (pictured above with Jamie, Jimmy and Liz Cassells, Head of Product Development) shares her account of what it’s like to be involved in things like this:

When you get approached by the producers of a hit Channel 4 show asking if you want to work with Jamie Oliver, there’s only one question – “how do we make this happen”?

So that’s exactly what we did.

Jamie & Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast is a series that looks at ways to improve the nation’s eating habits. Anything from tackling waste, improving health, supporting British farmers and producers, and educating British consumers on ways to make positive changes with their shopping habits.

Which fits in perfectly with Co-op and our values. And we couldn’t wait to be involved.

After a series of calls and meetings to discuss our approach, it was decided we’d work with the team on Fava Beans, educating consumers on what they are and how they add nutritional value, while exploring how these can be used in dishes.

My first (maybe obvious) question was, I’m not sure I know what a fava bean is?! Yes they are more famously known from a line in Anthony Hopkins’ Silence of the Lambs, but they’re also a legume from the broad bean family that are pretty amazing little pods given the amount of nutrition they contain.

It was time for us to go and meet the team.

Jamie and jimmy outside the truck stop

Jamie and Jimmy outside the truck stop

It’s all glamour in PR, or that’s what they tell you until you find yourself arriving in a truck stop in the middle of the M25 in Essex.

Checking we were definitely in the right place, which yes we were, our first piece of filming was about to start.

Liz (Cassells, Head of Product Development) was mic’d up and ready to chat all things fava beans with the lovely Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty. They were chatting for about 20 minutes about how texture and flavour of the beans would work in different dishes, how Co-op supports British, trying to offer consumers healthy alternatives and which product we think these could work in.

Jamie was particularly excited about Co-op’s involvement in this series and really interested to see how we could make fava beans a key ingredient in a dish – so that’s what we did.

Well when I say we, Liz and her team of super star product developers spent the next few weeks throwing ideas around and working with our suppliers to see which product would work from a flavour perspective but that also fits in with our convenience offering.

We narrowed it down to a hummus, a falafel and a stir fry dish – all of which tasted superb.

Next up was to take our chosen dish back for Jamie and Jimmy to try. And we sure hoped they were going to like it.

Jamie and Jimmys on Southend Pier

Jamie and Jimmy’s on Southend Pier

If we thought the truck stop on the M25 was a bit of a drive that was only a warm up for our next journey. We were invited to film with Jamie and Jimmy in their café on Southend Pier – a 500 mile round trip from Manchester but it was great to be welcomed into the much-loved café.

And yes for anyone wondering, the café is real and is open during the summer months. And yes the pier is as long as it looks – especially when you decide to walk the 1.34 miles instead of waiting for the train.

For anyone who’s familiar with the show, the café is filled with guests who have tickets to attend the filming. Liz was lucky enough to be invited into the café as one of the guests, and for Jamie and Jimmy to join her on her table to discuss the product we took with us.

A British fava bean hummus.

But that’s all we can say on that. Tune in this evening at 8pm on Channel 4 to witness Liz’s TV debut and hear all about it.

Kirsty Rushby
Press & Media Relations Manager

Join the conversation! 3 Comments

  1. Pukka – will be tuning in tonight.

  2. Co-op also got a nice big advertisement on Monday nights episode of Coronation Street.
    Sally Metcalfe Mayoress of Wetherfield had been shopping to the Co-op, 2 shopping bags on the worktop advertising Co-op 🙂
    I know Coronation Street isn’t real life but Co-op is 🙂

    • that *might* have been product placement, as companies are now allowed to advertise within shows, but there has to be the ‘PP’ logo shown during the opening credits to acknowledge the fact that there is paid product placement in the show

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