Food-to-Go with Jessica Ayling

Creative, inspiring recipes developed by Jessica Ayling for chefs in the food-to-go market looking for new ideas.

Jessica Ayling, NPD Manager, itsu Grocery

"Philly works hard in recipes and best of all can withstand heat without separating"

Jessica's natural creative flair

and experience in food development has helped her land her latest role as NPD Manager for itsu Grocery. Prior to this Jessica successfully launched 190 products in her previous role at EAT, reinvigorating their meals on-the-go offering.

Read Jessica's Interview Q&A

Free Food-to-Go Recipe Book

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Jessica Ayling - Chef Q&A

What is it about the industry that you love the most?

The fast pace! Everyone will tell you the food-to-go industry is incredibly fast paced, with development never ending and always being pushed for time to launch. That usually puts people off, but I love the speedy nature of our industry, the ever-changing days, and the challenge to always push boundaries!

Favourite chef dead or alive?

It's a close call between Gordan Ramsay and Heston Blumenthal. I’ve always enjoyed watching Ramsay on 'Kitchen Nightmares' and 'Hell's Kitchen'. Expletives aside he has a breadth to his career and a knowledge of endless cuisines. It would be rude not to aspire to be like him. That said, Blumenthal also gets my vote as we share a scientific background; he uses his knowledge of science to expand beyond just the food, to be truly innovative.

The kitchen’s on fire, what’s the first thing you take?

My Victorinox knives. These aren’t perhaps the most sought-after knives, but they are reasonably priced and stand the test of time.

How does it feel to represent Philadelphia?

Amazing, fantastic and exciting! I've used Philly throughout my professional career and when cooking at home. Being able to focus in on Philly, as the star ingredient, portraying how robust and resilient it can be has been a lot of fun.

What advice would you give to a young chef just starting out in the industry?

I would have to say you need to be incredibly creative, very organised and be able to take criticism constructively. The best piece of advice I could give would be never burn your bridges. Within our industry, everyone knows everyone, so you'll never know when you might need to reach out to an old friend.