Along the way, Woolworths has demoted chefs, insisting, instead, that someone who spends years of their life being underpaid, overworked, and trained to cook for others to a standard that the rest of us won't ever master, are nothing more than foodies.
“We have put in a tasting station; we have a foodie here permanently who cooks up something different every day and anything that is seasonal, fresh or special. What is great about having a foodie here is that you are not really going to say, ‘Ooh, I will have wild boar tonight’, but you will if you taste it.”Four times. Four times she gushes about the in-house foodie. That's no accident. That person used to be a chef. Now they work for Woolies.
The current foodie (a Parisian chef called Frederick) is also responsible for training staff and providing advice to customers on food matching. This recently extended to an event with the neighbouring Dan Murphy’s store, which opened a $30,000 bottle of whisky (in conjunction with a whisky appreciation society) and matched it with the best products from the cheese room. “That’s what the foodie does - bring a love of food into the store,” says Gill. “And we get incredible comments about it. And what I love about that is it’s not the layout of the store, it’s not the signage, not the groceries - it’s real, it’s the people, and I think that is a big change.”
Woolies goes gourmet