Lily Simpson ’08 is the founder and CEO of Detox Kitchen – a healthy meals delivery service with delis in central London.
We caught up with her to talk about running a successful business, family life and student memories.
Did your degree in Real Estate Management help you get to where you are now?
Not directly but it definitely helped. It gave me a way into the property industry and while working for a company called Northacre I did the catering for a property launch event. I enjoyed the experience and ran my own catering company for 18 months before launching Detox Kitchen in 2012.
What are the challenges you have faced running Detox Kitchen?
The main challenges came as we grew and started employing people – we needed much stronger systems and had to raise finance. The hardest things about running any company are operational issues.
Has your role changed over time?
In the early days I did everything. Nowadays a lot of my role is enabling other people to execute my vision. Although some days I still find myself in the kitchen making salads like nothing’s changed.
Do you try out your recipes on your family?
Yes, loads of them! Banana Bread is a particular favourite with the children – and there are pasta and rice salad recipes that we eat all the time.
Do you ever have problems getting your children to eat healthy food?
I have a four year-old son and two year-old daughter, and they eat entirely differently. The first time I gave my daughter broccoli she tried to grab some more. But I can only get my son to eat it by promising he’ll become a superhero if he does!
What are your favourite memories of being a student?
I’ve got amazing memories of being at Brookes. On my first day, I moved into Morrell’s Hall and the first person I met was Sam. We made friends over a pint of cider in the union bar and we’ve been good friends ever since.
And it wasn’t just good friends you met here…
I met my husband (Edward De Stefano ’07) at Brookes.
Lily’s new book Detox Kitchen Vegetables was published in 2018.
Sarah Wearden ’93 runs the much loved Cowley Road shop, Indigo – read her story
Headington Campus has changed since Lily was a student – see old and new photographs