School of Science, Engineering & Design

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Maria Prapa

Maria is technical manager for the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group

BSc (Hons) Food Nutrition and Health Science

My role means making sure that all food served under the Jamie Oliver brand complies with the company’s ethos and standards. I conduct and follow up site audits, mostly in the UK, and challenge the suppliers when necessary. I assess product specifications and help with quality control both internally and externally. My job is a mix of office work, travelling and liaising with different people on daily basis – it makes it interesting and fun.

After graduating, I worked as a food technologist for meat, fish and dairy at a London warehouse and distribution company. I liaised with European suppliers on a daily basis and started gaining auditing experience. I mainly dealt with manufacturers and food service customers. In 2012, I became a food technologist for the grocery department where I looked after suppliers worldwide, visiting and auditing them as required by the business. I dealt directly with Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury's and Tesco. In March 2013, I was offered an incredible chance to join Jamie Oliver's food team.

I chose to study at Teesside University because it has a very good reputation in Greece, where I’m from, and the UK. My degree course was very well organised - I always knew who to talk to if I needed any further assistance. My tutors were very friendly and willing to help at any time. I met many great people from different backgrounds who I am still in contact with. The library is brilliant for studying, working on assignments and meetings – I spent a lot of my time there. I definitely recommend Teesside University and my course for a great student life and a brilliant professional career so far.

I didn’t struggle during my first job as my studies provided me with all the necessary background information. After finishing my course I did a short placement as a food design and technology teaching assistant a college in Middlesbrough, which enhanced my confidence and professionalism.

I am currently studying a master’s in nutritional sciences as part of my continuing professional development. I’d like to gain more experience within the food industry, master my auditing skills and grow within the business that I am currently working for.

* The new title of this programme is BSc (Hons) Food and Nutrition