Where Food Ideas Come Alive

The Masterclass Programme is a system for developing or enhancing a deep food culture within organisations in the food industry. The aim is to inspire internal teams and reassure external clients.

Each Masterclass is an interactive, hands-on, immersive experience that will take you and your stakeholders into new and relevant areas of food knowledge. Using skilled chefs to bring ideas to life, sessions will reveal potential food innovations and recipe ideas. Masterclasses will deliver; authoritative research; viewpoints from Industry experts; tasting; technical hands-on; opportunities for disruptive innovation.

Masterclasses are not a trawl and regurgitation of what’s going on out in the wider food world.

Subjects on our extensive list of masterclasses include; Sugar Alternatives; Hot to Go; British Regional; Using Seaweed; Getting inside Korea; Free From; Flexitarianism etc.

The programme is designed for companies in the food retail and manufacturing sector that need to take their food culture to a higher level in a systematic and measurable way. It is devised and presented by food industry experts whose perspectives on food will add to and enhance your own thinking.

It will nourish a food culture within your organisation, galvanise your team, and inspire your customers/consumers.

We bring each subject alive through credible research, multi-angled perspectives and where appropriate, use of authority figures in their specialist area. Our Masterclass Programme is the starting point for meaningful conjecture, and with our facilitation creates an environment that will lead to positive change.
Jonathan Hehir. Masterclass Programme Co-Founder

For the food retailer, The Masterclass Programme will inform the briefs you give to your own label suppliers. We can focus a range of masterclasses to enhance your category vision, provide inspiration and create direction for product and packaging from a macro to a micro level.

For the private label food manufacturer, The Masterclass Programme will enhance and formalise a demonstrable food culture to match the operational side of the business. It will set you apart from your competitors in the eyes of your clients.

It is a series of monthly masterclasses for a suggested minimum period of six months. Each masterclass is expertly designed and focused on a specific food related subject. These subjects fall into four broad categories;

1. Health. An area of huge growth across the food industry whether you’re a brand, an own label manufacturer or simply looking to make existing product ranges healthier. We run a series of health related masterclasses each with a distinct area of focus. We provide various perspectives so that it can be tackled from a consumer-centric angle. Key is a deep delve into growing health trends such as veganism, vegetarianism and flexitariaism. We also focus on specific diets, summarising their worth. We will align cuisines to health angles, revealing how cooking techniques and specific ingredients can help meet your health goals.

Examples of typical health masterclasses we have already run include; Fermentation Methods, Sugar Alternatives, Functional Health, The Future of Health.

2. Ingredients. This is a focus on one or more specific ingredients. We will provide insights into how they will add value to your business. Along with key facts around nutrition and taste, our presentation will look at how an ingredient is grown, reared, farmed, processed, butchered, cooked etc. We always provide a best-inclass approach, and benchmarking examples to create perspective.

Previous Ingredient Masterclasses included butchery, fish, leaf, tomatoes, seaweed etc.

3. Cuisines. We research and present culture or country specific ingredients if there is a likelihood of it becoming a big UK trend. We will give historical context and cultural insight into why the cuisine exists, and suggestions to its relevance to your business today. This will include cooking of key dishes, techniques, processes and (where relevant) seasonality and regionality associated with that country.

Here are a few examples of where we are ahead of the trend with cuisine masterclasses – Regional Chinese, Peruvian, Hot Lisbon!* Japanese, Brazilian, Regional Spain, Regional Mexico.

*This masterclass was published in Out of Home Magazine July 2017

4. Occasions. Our occasions and dayparts masterclasses maximise themes and annual events such as Valentines, Christmas, Easter etc. and incorporate different slants on each occasion. We will investigate and present key themes for each occasion along with packaging examples and who currently owns this space in the market.

Our Daypart masterclasses will explore up and coming areas of growth such as “world breakfast” that help extend existing days parts.

Bespoke Masterclasses

Additional to the list of off-the-shelf masterclasses, we can research, design and deliver bespoke masterclasses where you have a specific need.

Each masterclass will be run at your premises and typically include the following – dynamic visual aids throughout the room. An interactive presentation. Hands-on engagement with ingredients where appropriate.

… And lots of freshly cooked dishes to try. We encourage discussion amongst the group at the end about their take on the subject matter.

By the end of The Masterclass Program, you can expect to benefit from the following;

  • Ongoing activities around products solutions that will set you apart from your competitors in the eyes of your customers
  • Opportunities for inspired communications with your customers, externalising and reinforcing your company’s food culture
  • A source of potential innovations for NPD to work with
  • A company food culture that people can buy into and feel an active part of
  • Setting a benchmark with customers that competitors will be judged by
  • An aid for team recruitment and retention

Our policy is to only work with one company on a specific category at any one time. This guarantees that only our client will benefit from our latest thinking to keep them ahead of their competitors.

“Jonny has the ability to see beyond what can be done now, collaborate with the right people across the industry and create a compelling vision. In addition to his broad culinary knowledge, his energy and enthusiasm for food innovation is infectious. I can guarantee you will leave the room buzzing with new ideas and optimism!”
Cathy Port – Category Manager Projects

“I have involved Jonny in many big tenders for new business. His flair and articulation of appropriate but stretching change has brought about significant sales growth on many occasions.”
Karl McGonnell – Commercial Director Tulip Group


Val is a much sought-after strategic creative thinker. He founded The Finer Detail, a marketing led creative agency over 30 years ago. Val cut his teeth developing creative solutions for clients across a variety of sectors. As he says, once you take out the confidentiality issues, the learnings and insights gained will travel…and experience turns into expertise.

Over the last 15 years his agency has specialised in the retail sector, helping major brands WD-40, Asda and Costa Coffee. Val’s driving passion and focus is the private label food industry. His mission is to help clients move their price-based retailer relationship to the more valuable partnership space. Val lives with his family in a spectacular setting on the banks of the River Great Ouse in Bedfordshire.


Jonny has driven change and innovation in both food retail and manufacturing for over 20 years. His 10 year spell at Sainsbury’s saw him develop the own brand offer across several key categories. He has a further decade of senior level manufacturing experience with large UK companies like Bakkavor and Adelie, where he was Innovation Director.

Jonny’s latest innovation, the “simit” launched into Compass in January 2017, fast becoming their best-selling premium bread format. The simit has since been shortlisted for both a British Baker Innovation Award and a Q Award. Jonny is a published author and has travelled the world in search of food knowledge. Included amongst many of his current challenges, is growing his own small tea plantation in London!