The Robora Meets: Josie Buck, The Mindful Cook

As she approached 40, Josie Buck decided to leave her career in TV and set up an entirely new work-life; living in old artist’s studio in her parents’ garden and catering for retreats. Now, she runs online courses that help women to develop a healthier relationship with food and their bodies…

Describe The Mindful Cook in one sentence…

Retreats, coaching and online courses all designed to help women to improve their relationship with food.

How did you decide to start working in food/nutrition? 

Originally, I went into a career in TV and marketing and was quite successful at it until I found myself re-evaluating things as I approached 40. I had a great career, beautiful city home, but was living for the weekends so I could fill the house with friends around the dinner table. I also found myself spending the little time I had on weekday evenings writing business plans for cafes, reading books about street food and studying for my hygiene certificate. But the truth is, intuitively I knew I wasn’t going to end up running a café and I was becoming frustrated about not really knowing what it was I wanted to do.

In 2016, I had a bit of an epiphany. I realised that I had the freedom to make some changes. I was single at that time with no children and no-one depending on me, so I decided to hand in my notice, sell the house and take some time out. With nothing but the cash from the house sale behind me, I moved into an old artist’s studio in my parents’ garden and put my mind to thinking about what I wanted to do next.

A year before, I’d taken a yoga break at a retreat where I’d been fascinated by the business and the women that worked there. It was down the road from Mum and Dads’ so I decided to get in touch and a week later I was cooking vegetarian moussaka for 12 guests on a hot August evening.

I spent the next couple of years earning very little, living in a caravan in the grounds and helping to run the retreat. I gained invaluable insight into how to run a business and, importantly, had numerous conversations with women about nutrition, health and weight worries. Being the child of a mother from the ‘F-plan’ era and having battled with dieting for many years myself, these conversations resounded within me and lead me to the realisation that this was the area I wanted to work in.

By October of 2017, I had completed my diploma in eating psychology, started my study of applied nutrition and launched my business, The Mindful Cook. I started out running food and well-being retreats, moved into coaching and have now launched a programme of online courses, all designed to help women to improve their relationship with food.

Describe an average working week…

I work from home and I’ve spent the last 12 months developing online courses so there has been a lot of desk work. I’m most productive in the morning so I get up around 6am during the week and I’m either at my desk shortly after or, I get out and move first thing – fresh air and walking does wonders for my mental and physical health so I try and do that most days.

One of my online programmes has a weekly group coaching element which happens on a Wednesday, so I record coaching videos or podcasts on Tuesdays or Wednesday mornings.

I have kitchen time developing recipes and making sure we eat well. I tend to burn out around 3pm so that’s when I tend to get into the kitchen.

When I am planning and preparing for retreats, the week running up to the event is mostly all in the kitchen or running around organising things.

Biggest success, work-wise?

Leaving the career that I was no longer happy in to discover my real passion in life. Even though there is uncertainty around whether I can make a financial success of it, I will never regret making that leap.

Biggest flop?

Rushing to finish my signature course last year and launching it on Easter Weekend!

How do you spend your weekends?

Currently: planning my wedding, working a bit, sorting out the house and chilling out with a glass of wine.

In a dream world: one year from now, where would you be and what would you be doing?

Running a successful online course business helping women to overcome their challenges with food and to feel good about themselves. Creating enough income from that to do the things currently on the wish-list and retire my husband-to-be!

Website: The Mindful Cook
Instagram: @themindfulcook.co.uk