Hannah McCollum is a houmous lover and founder of ChicP, a raw vegetable houmous company producing delicious alternative dips, founded on a passionate commitment to reducing food waste.
Hannah says: In the Summer I’m an early riser. I never set my alarm and normally get up at 6 – 6:30am. In the Winter, when it’s dark, I find it a little harder! I normally start the day with some yoga or a run. I love sport and prefer to get it done in the morning, to set myself up for the day. If I’m working locally, I’ll cycle to a café which takes 5 or 10 minutes. The only time I have ‘a commute’ is when I have events or meetings – likely a 45 minute bike ride. I rarely take the tube unless I have to.
I have always felt strongly about preventing food waste and raising awareness of this problem. I also love healthy and delicious food and cooking – making houmous and dips was a staple of mine, a great way to use up leftovers. These interests combined led to ChicP, and the passion is still going! The most useful advice I received is that it’s not about the money. If you love what you do and are passionate then the money will come, enjoy what you’re doing and it will shine through. I think the work of Thomasina Miers, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver has revolutionised the world of food, sustainability, food waste and healthier, natural and fresh produce cooking which is hugely inspiring. More recently, I see Lucy Siegle as a role model for her work on plastics and climate change.
Something I really value about my current role is being able to be flexible and choose my place of work each day. I also really enjoy all the food events I attend or exhibit at – it’s wonderful to be a part of this network. My least favourite part has to be having to lug huge cases of houmous in and out of warehouses, up stairs and so on – it is definitely less glam going to manufacturing sites, driving around and carrying heavy loads!
I started working in events and catering (and I still do this from time to time, especially private cooking roles). Before I founded ChicP I was working for a private family business in philanthropy, art, film, events etc. I did a lot of project managing, PA type roles and found they taught me so much about running a business. I think the best way to get in to this line of work is get some experience first. Intern for a brand that interests you, get to know how they work, understand and learn more about the industry, build up some contacts and make sure you enjoy it.
I don’t have a lunchtime ritual because everyday is different. With my houmous, I love Eat Real Snacks or just toasted rye bread. For a more chocolatey snack, my favourite at the moment are Rythm108 Praline bars. I tend to finish work around 6, but if I’m not doing anything in the evening, I usually do a bit of extra work in front of the TV or while cooking. I also still love to cook, especially for other people. I think it is very important to put friends before work.
I dreamt of being a teacher as a child (I think…!) but when I got a little older I wanted to work in the travel and events industry. As an alternative career, I would happily still become a teacher or work in travel and events, as long as it wasn’t taking up every weekend.
My top online recommendations are:
CODE Hospitality: This is for the Hospitality industry, it gives you updates on the latest restaurants in London and some great deals.
Gill Meller’s posts on Instagram: His cooking/ethos is completely up my street and very inspirational.