Former Pret A Manger head of food, Nellie Nichols, who helped to launch the brand in the 80s and develop its international profile, is to join Leon as its new director of food.
Nichols first worked for the chain in 2012 and will rejoin early next year to manage the food team as it develops Leon’s new seasonal menus for restaurants at home and abroad.
Leon hopes Nichols’ experience and track record in the food industry will push it into new international markets.
She was formerly the head of food (twice) at Pret, helping launch the brand and then going to back to support its international expansion into New York, Hong Kong and Japan.
Prior to that she worked in food manufacturing for Hazlewood Foods and produced TV food commercials for Birds Eye Walls. Lately she has been running her own food development agency, working with clients such as Marks & Spencer.
Leon co-founder and CEO, John Vincent, said: “If you know Nellie you’ll understand why I’m so happy. Nellie and I worked on a significant development of the menu for two years from 2012 and it was a privilege. And always a lot of fun. She’s back and I’m strapping myself in.”
Nellie Nichols said, “I am very in love with Leon and always have been so I’m delighted to be going back to be part of its dynamic growth in 2017 and beyond.”
She is a member of the Guild of Food Writers and won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the British Sandwich Industry in 2009.