Behind the Apron with Emily Cox

Meet Emily Cox, one of the talented development chefs here at The Compleat Food Group.

As part of our new series, Behind the Apron, we’re talking to our fantastic culinary team about what inspires them and how they decided the kitchen is where they want to be.

Emily has been at The Compleat Food Group since the beginning of 2022. She started as junior development chef at Tottle Bakery and a year later, became development chef at Riverside Bakery.

  1. Can you tell us more about your role as development chef?

My role includes developing and innovating pastry products and ideas for various customers such as Sainsburys, Aldi, Lidl, Tesco, M&S and ASDA. I also help develop ideas for our own brands, go to customer submissions and help process products from concept to launch.

  1. Tell us about your journey to become a chef.

It all started back in secondary school when I attended an eight-week young chef course at University College Birmingham (UCB). I went on to study professional cookery there while working at the Belfry Hotel across various departments. I also worked in several different restaurants during my time at UCB, including The Boot in Lapworth and Chase Farm Café and Shop in Sutton Coldfield.

After my two years there, I was lucky enough to complete a work placement at Michelin star restaurant, L’Epuisette, in Marseille, France, before going on to complete my bachelor’s degree in Food Product Development and Innovation, where I achieved a first.

After graduating, I took the role as food technologist at Poundstretcher where it was my job to check the legal requirements on food packaging was correct.

From there, I got the role of junior development chef with The Compleat Food Group. I started out at the Tottle site developing pork pies for around a year before becoming development chef at Riverside Bakery.

  1. What attracted you to the career?

I have always loved food, finding new flavours that work well together and trying new recipes.

What attracted me to become a development chef is knowing that I could create something that would be on a supermarket shelf for people to see and purchase. I love the idea of bringing people joy with the food that I can create!

  1. Can you tell us about your latest trawls?

The last trawl I attended was in London, we visited various bakeries including Fortitude Bake which had a range of sweet and savoury pastry. Something that caught my attention was their amazing Christmas Trifle Pudding Bun – their attention to detail when it came to the decoration of food was amazing!


We also went to Honey Co where we tried a Grape and Tarragon Focaccia Bread. Sweet to savoury is a massive trend right now and the sweetness of the grapes worked well against the saltiness of bread.

For dinner we attended The Hardwood Arms. The standout for me was the Venison Scotch Egg served with an Oxford Sauce which was tangy but cut through the egg and venison well.

  1. What is your favourite Compleat product that you’ve developed or created and why?

The Taste The Difference Boxing Day Quiche for Sainsbury’s. This was my favourite to develop because it had so many elements of a Christmas dinner, which got everyone into the Christmas spirit. The turkey in the product was moist and the cranberries gave it just the right amount of sweetness.

What made it even better is the fact Sainsbury’s liked the product so much they decided to put it into their food to order range as an 11inch quiche!

  1. What is your favourite Compleat product to use in recipes and why? Is there a surprising way to serve it?

Working in the development kitchen, we get sent various samples from other sites, which gives us plenty of opportunity to try new and different things.

My favourite so far has been the Beetroot Kimchi from Vadasz. We tried mixing it with mayonnaise and served it with homemade fried chicken made by senior chef, Ewan McFarlane, which was great.

  1. What’s your favourite thing about working for The Compleat Food Group?

My favourite thing is the people. Everyone at Compleat is friendly and willing to help where they can. I also love working in the development kitchen, Ewan McFarlane and Phil Bohemia have both taught me so much about development in my two and a half years here.

Latest News

From charity fun runs to big brand anniversaries, discover what we're up to over here at Compleat!

Meet Palace Culture’s founder… Mirko Parmigiani

The Grocer’s My Alternative CV series uncovers the personal and professional lives of leaders across the food and drink industry. This month, they’ve spoken to the founder of Palace Culture, Mirko Parmigiani.