“Food was key in the project that kickstarted my career”

Art director Joss Bowerman’s food lightbulb moment was sparked by her insatiable sweet tooth and a rather special box of chocolates…

“Food was key in the project that kickstarted my career”

Food has been such a focal point in my life ever since I can remember, that choosing a moment food changed my life has been impossible. I went back and looked in my diary from when I was seven and found the majority of my musings are based on exactly what I’d eaten, down to the minutiae of the number of sweets I’d consumed.

Coming from a close-knit Jewish family has also meant food is a huge part of my culture. Though we’re not religious, any excuse to bake a particular cake or dish for a particular festival was jumped upon:

“Why have you made this deliciously creamy cheesecake, mum?”

“It’s Shavuot, didn’t you know?”

“But we don’t celebrate that one, do we?”

“No, but we DO like a cheesecake!”

My mum’s proper Jewish chicken soup is the one thing I couldn’t imagine life without. She made it every week when I was growing up, and it really does soothe the soul. It’s such an emotive thing for me, evocative of time spent with family. If we were unwell the chicken soup would make us better, and it was the thing Mum made for extended family and friends too, when they were unwell. Such a simple thing but a real symbol of love and hope.

dairy entry

A key story in my life would be the use of food in a project that kickstarted my whole career. My final project on my art foundation course was about representing me and my personality. Having always had a sweet tooth, I decided to create a box of chocolates with each chocolate representing a different part of my life and personality.

"What other way to improve an interviewer’s day than by giving them handmade chocolates?"

While taking a long time choosing and creating flavours and fillings for all the chocolates and painstakingly making a box with two levels, 12 compartments, a menu and labels, I went that bit further and made the chocolates myself.

I remember my tutor being really impressed, saying if I took this to my university interview there’d be no doubt I’d get on the much sought-after and oversubscribed graphic design course. What other way to improve an interviewer’s day than by giving them handmade chocolates?

The interview went well (mainly thanks to the sweet treats) and the course head told me I made myself unforgettable. I left feeling quietly confident about getting in, which I did, and my life as a graphic designer began.

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