Katie Bulmer-Cooke: Business dream four years in the making

Katie Bulmer-Cooke.
Katie Bulmer-Cooke.

I’ve always been brought up to believe that if you never try, you’ll never know, or as we often say here in Sunderland, ‘shy bairns get nowt’.

Four years ago I had that exact same saying ringing in my ears as I went to the second round of auditions for BBC1’s The Apprentice.

I knew I had to put myself out there and just get stuck in if I wanted the chance to get my business plan in front of Lord Sugar and win the £250,000 investment.

Despite spending 10 weeks on the show, permanently outside of my comfort zone, sadly Lord Sugar didn’t fancy investing in a healthy takeaway in Sunderland, and instead decided it was time for me to hear those famous words ‘You’re Fired!’.

For a while, the dream of providing the city with a place to eat nutritious, healthy food that tasted great (and wasn’t all rabbit food), got put on the back burner.

Several opportunities came along, but they were never quite right.

In fact, I’d say I could write a few chapters of a book on some of the conversations I’ve had about it over the years.

I’m a firm believer that sometimes the best opportunities are worth waiting for, and I’m now super proud and excited to be able to tell everyone that together with my business partners Joanne and Karen, we are opening Guilt Free Kitchen in Sunderland.

We open for business next Monday for workplace deliveries, meal prep orders and buffets and then on Tuesday we throw open the doors for breakfasts, lunches, shakes, and you can even pick up your evening meals on the way home from work too.

Not only is this an exciting business venture for us, we also want to do our bit to improve the health and lifestyle of people in the city.

The bottom line is, as I’ve written about many times before in my column, it is not easy to just pick up something healthy when you’re out and about.

It’s even harder to find something that tastes like it should be ‘naughty’ but is packed with nutrients and isn’t a salad.

We are here to help solve that problem and help more people take bigger steps to leading a healthier life.

I really couldn’t be more grateful for the words of encouragement that we’ve had from so many people.

It certainly is true, that in Sunderland you are always amongst friends, and there are a whole bunch of people who want to see others do well, and long may that continue.

It may have taken four years, but it’s here ... better late than never.