Devon is a Lecturer of Science and Baking Technology within LSBU's National Bakery School. He comes from a long line of bakers and studied culinary arts back in his home country, Zimbabwe.
Devon brings a range of experience to the LAFIC programme, from entrepreneurial to fine dining.
Read about Devon's work with LAFIC members Crické here.
My great-granddad was a Master Baker in Scotland, so I feel like culinary arts is in my blood.
Upon moving to the UK in 2005, I was given the opportunity to start my own company offering catering for companies, private guests and MPs. I then went on to open a tea room and online delicatessen.
"As I had my own company for 10 years, it is easy for me to relate to new SMEs and their projects."
My experience in owning a business makes it easy for me to relate to new SMEs and their projects. Alongside the experience I can pass onto SMEs, I have an extensive amount of knowledge on research and development - in particular, new product development and ingredient fortification.
My day as an academic varies ... I'm either teaching Research to Undergrads, meeting with final year project students, holding external meetings with ingredients companies/suppliers, working on my PhD research or, most importantly, taste-testing products made within the School. Who can complain, especially with the latter!
My specialist subject on Mastermind would be The Big Bang Theory - I'm such a nerd!
If I wasn't an academic, I'd probably still be in the Hospitality and Baking sector, but maybe I'd become more specialised as a food writer and/or food critic.
The first LAFIC project I worked on was a vegan bakery product. Since then, I have helped with several projects, from looking at specialised ingredients that can be incorporated into bakery products, to new bakery product ideas for the market.
"LAFIC gives a sense of growing community in both innovation and application for London's food businesses."
Companies can benefit from being affiliated with the programme because LAFIC gives a sense of a growing community within the food innovation sector. I've also benefitted from LAFIC as an academic because getting involved with a wide variety of projects with different proposals and backgrounds has broadened my own research and knowledge.
"No matter how well the new product is perceived, if there is no unique selling point ... it will not attract a larger consumer audience."
My top-tip for a start-up developing a new food product is ... No matter how well the new product is perceived, if there is no unique selling point associated with the product or company it will not attract a larger consumer audience.