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Arts + Lifestyle

From The Desk Of… Jennifer Irvine Of The Pure Package

Founder of The Pure Package, Jennifer Irvine, joins us for the latest instalment of From The Desk Of...

Growing up on a self-sufficient farm in the west of Ireland, on moving to London, Irvine found that ‘hectic city life meant it wasn’t always easy to source and prepare quality healthy food’. Born out of her ‘desire to help busy people, including herself, ensure that their nutritional needs were being taken care of, effortlessly and to the highest standard’, The Pure Package was founded in 2003. Way ahead of the curve, the meal delivery service has grown from strength to strength ever since.

From the busy to the health conscious, dieters to new mums, The Pure Package is a gourmet weight-management programme that caters to all. Offering a variety of meal plan options – ranging from a 21-day detox to plans suitable for vegetarians –, nutrient-dense packages, covering breakfast to dinner plus snacks, are delivered right to your door (within London’s M25, or opt for a Balance Box for deliveries across the UK). From smoked chicken, wild mushroom, and artichoke terrine, to spiced kingfish with black bean salsa, and a dark Belgian chocolate mousse for dessert, you’ll never be left hungry or short of something delicious to eat.

Here, Jennifer talks us through her working week, sharing her morning rituals, go-to lunch order and more.


How do you start your days?

The first thing I do is check my doorstep so see what our team of nutritionists and chefs have decided to make for me to eat. The mornings are the most productive part of my day, everyone is sleeping and I can crack on uninterrupted. I like to get all my correspondence and emails done straight away, fuelled by a huge mug of rooibos tea.

What’s your go-to uniform?

Catherine Prevost is my favourite designer. She is also a personal friend and she understands my lifestyle and shape. Her dresses are perfect for my busy life, they are easy to dress down with a pair of white flats for the school run, accessorise with heels for a London lunch, or slip on for an evening by the beach in Barbados. The fabrics are beautifully made with silks and stretch. Her designs feel timeless.

Describe your workspace/ workplace…

I change my setting depending on what I want to achieve. If I need to be creative, I’ll work from the treehouse in my garden surrounded by nature. When I want to collaborate, I love doing walking meetings. When I need to just get things done I will sit at a quiet desk with relaxing music and blast my correspondence.

 

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Identify something in your workspace that’s special to you (and why)…

My best ideas come when I am out and about – I feel inspired by the people I meet and the places I eat. The best part about my workspace is that it is the world – it essentially comes wherever I go. Wherever I can physically work, answer emails, do calls, and mentally plan ideas for the future is my workspace. Typical ADHD entrepreneur style answer!

What are your workplace essentials?

As a busy mother of four, my life is a constant balancing act, with plenty of juggling. Because I’m always on the go, my workplace essential is definitely my phone – with an amazing camera of course. My phone is usually attached to me in my Bandolier purse, which means I’m never tied to my desk and I have the freedom to travel as I work.

What time of day are you at your most creative? 

First thing in the morning is definitely when I’m at my most creative. Often I’m up at 5AM bursting with ideas and putting them into motion straight away by sending emails to myself to consider before I send them to my team. I like to get the ball rolling and I’ve learnt over the years to take a moment before I send the company on a trajectory!

 

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What’s your go-to lunch order?

The Pure Package of course! My nutritionist decides what I need and schedules our chefs to prepare it for me, I always get to eat something super tasty and completely guilt-free. They even deliver it to me. What could be better!

What is the most rewarding part of the job?

It would have to be helping clients achieve their health goals every day. I absolutely love hearing about people whose lives have changed as a result of our meal deliveries, people who have felt transformed and have been living greater and more fulfilled lives. I am often moved by their kind words. Stephen Fry made me cry because he was just so kind.

And the most challenging?

Sometimes I wish there were more hours in the day to make things happen. I feel like I’m brimming with ideas but the day is only so long. I have to find a way to balance my creativity and work/life with my four wonderful daughters and make sure that I’m there for them even when my days are full.

What did you study in school/university?

I’ve made many amazing opportunities to study food and cooking at some amazing schools – like Leith’s cookery school, Chang Mai Thailand, and The Raymond Blanc cookery school – and we’re super proud to now run our Nutrition in Culinary practice course at Leith’s. Before this, I studied Food Marketing Economics at the University of Reading.

What was your first job?

From as young as eight I was selling eggs to local restaurants, and by 12 I had a street trading license and my own market stall. It feels so strange to say that I’ve literally been working my whole life! When I got to England at 18 I started working at Neal’s Yard Cheese shop and I loved it.

Where are you from originally?

I’m from West Cork in Ireland – I grew up with my family on the side of a mountain, where my parents made Milleens Cheese. We had a self-sufficient farm – so you could say I’ve always been into food!

What led you to start Pure Package?

I love food! Which means that I never want to feel guilty about what I eat. Having a nutritionist doing all the hard work for me and a chef cooking these healthy meals up is my idea of heaven – so I needed to make it a reality. If I wanted it then I knew other people would too. We started over 18 years ago and were the first people to do this in London. I am very proud of how the industry of healthy meal delivery has grown.

 

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Do you have a mentor or inspirational figure that has guided or influenced you?

My mother has always been the most influential person in my life. She ran her own business and proved to me that it was possible to balance motherhood and my own business. She never used to guard her knowledge and would share everything she knew through teaching so that others could learn her tools for success.

What were some hurdles you had to overcome in the early days of Pure Package?

I started The Pure Package from my kitchen sink. It’s never easy starting out, but word of mouth is still my favourite way to grow the business – clients recommending their loved ones because they enjoy and believe in the results we get for them.

What’s the most important business lesson you’ve learned?

The best way to understand your market is to create a product that you would use yourself and are proud of, and I use my products and love them. Every time we launch a new menu I get to trial it and that’s brilliant. We offer London deliveries from The Pure Package and nationwide deliveries through Balance Box. Each time we add to our menus I get to experience them. I am only as strong as my team and I have a wonderful group of people who run the show at the Pure Package. I am the person who got the ball rolling, but they are the consistent heroes.

The best advice you ever received… 

Life is a journey, not a destination.

What are you working on right now?

I’m always trying to spread awareness of fact over fad – debunking diet myths that can be harmful or just a complete waste of time. We are always trying to find new ways to show our clients that they can enjoy their food and reach their health goals.

What’s next for you and The Pure Package?

We’re all for longevity menus at the moment – food that supports a long healthy life.

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