Arum Nixon made it to the top five of this year’s Masterchef, and now the UK-born marketing strategist is hoping he can combine his work experience with his growing passion for food.
When he was eliminated from the show, Nixon said that his food dream was to own a country pub, and while that desire still burns brightly, he admits it is more of a long-term plan and that the more immediate and realistic option would be to combine his marketing experience with his growing food knowledge.
“I love being involved in putting together menus and being around the whole food set-up, but I don’t think I see myself as a junior chef and working my way through the kitchen ranks,” Nixon told TheShout.
“My idea for pub food is probably more around the higher end. So still working with what people would see as recognisable pub food, but trying to make it more dynamic and gourmet. As part of that I have been getting some experience in kitchens, but most importantly I’m having conversations with lots of different people, sharing thoughts and ideas on pub food and menus, and you just never know where that might lead.
“At this stage I do have lots of ideas and it would be great to be able to talk to pub owners about their food, their menu and how they can make things more exciting, while still keeping it relevant to their venue and their clientele. But that’s something I know I need to keep working towards and it would be a little naïve to assume I can do that straight away. But as I said I do have lots of ideas, I am gaining a lot of experience and I am enjoying having conversations right now and hopefully that will continue.”
Later this month Nixon has two nights planned with the team at the Manly Spirits Company, which will see him re-creating some of this food from the show and matching it with cocktails from the new distillery. These two night have already sold out, but Nixon said it is something that he would like to explore further and is open to talking to other venues about how that could work. Nixon is also collaborating with one of the breweries on the Northern Beaches for a dinner in November and has a number of other projects with cafes and food companies in the pipeline.
“I’ve spoken to some of the craft breweries in the Northern Beaches area and there is definitely opportunities for partnerships to work with food and drink matching. At the moment it’s just a case of finding the right person at the right time and having a good chat about the best way to make things work, but I’m definitely open to some discussions.”
And in terms of his food style, Nixon said: “A lot of people go on to Masterchef and enjoying playing with liquid nitrogen or tempering chocolate and things like that. But what I loved about it was that it gave me the opportunity to take some of the food that I had already been cooking, and take it to the next level.
“So doing some interesting things with food that was already familiar and also doing some new bits around the edges. For me one of the things I really got out of the whole experience was learning how to ‘Masterchef’ everyday food. And that is my take on food and that’s what interests me, it’s not about new and whacky food, but using some different flavours and techniques to help elevate everyday dishes into something that is a bit more special.
So what does the future look like for Nixon? He told TheShout: “I currently work in advertising and it would be great to talk about consultancy from a marketing perspective; taking a foody angle with small and medium sized businesses and using that to help them grow. I’m a strategist at the moment and have worked with buyers in London and Sydney on some major international brands, so I can bring that experience to either small food businesses, or businesses that want to get into food and that is something that I am exploring and that could fit in with an overall consultancy plan.
“Helping them to explore what trends in food they could be leveraging and what kind of language they should be using to maximise potential. This could be any kind of business that has an affinity with food whether it’s a winery, brewery or distillery, but that could also work with venues as well. Again it’s about starting and having those conversations with the right people.
“I can talk to them about how they can market themselves to particular audiences and even to understand which audiences they should be marketing to, as well as where the growth opportunities are for them as a business. Those kinds of things are what I do for clients in my current job and I’ve got 12-plus years of experience in that area and a relatively new experience in food, so it would be great to be able to combine those two.”
Anyone interested in starting a conversation with Arum, can contact him at email@example.com