Shaper: Camilla Stephens

Show aired on 11th March 2017


Camilla Stephens
Camilla Stephens founded Higgidy in 2003 after being inspired by companies liked Innocent and Green & Blacks, and driven by the desire to share her home-cooked pies with everybody.

A career in food was much more tempting than school for Camilla, who left  halfway through her A-levels to attend Leiths, London’s leading cooking school. There, Camilla spent the next few years working with their catering company, developing delicious new recipes and perfecting her cookery skills. Skills that she later took to Justin de Blank delicatessen and Good Housekeeping magazine. After three years of food writing and editing, Camilla went travelling in America for six months, where she fell in love with coffee. Once back in the UK, Camilla took an opportunity to work with leading coffee brand, Seattle Coffee Company, developing its food range. When Seattle Coffee was taken over by Starbucks, Camilla’s expertise was recognised and she was asked to stay and develop Starbucks’ food range.

In 2001 Camilla went freelance and two years later, inspired by her family’s love of her home baking, she set up Higgidy, making handmade pies near her home in West Sussex. Her home-cooking philosophy and her use of kitchen cupboard ingredients is at the heart of the Higgidy kitchen and of all the recipes she creates. In 2013 Camilla wrote the Higgidy Cookbook sharing over 100 easy recipes for pies, quiches, tarts and puddings to make at home for family and friends.

Camilla won the 2010 Everywoman Entrepreneur Award, and was named Entrepreneur of the Year in 2010 at the Sussex Business Awards.

Higgidy has won many awards including Regional winner for the south in the HSBC Business Thinking Awards 2011/12, the People and Performance Award in the Real Business/CBI Growing Business Awards 2010.

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I never really got on at school. I think that’s probably a theme quite often found with entrepreneurs.

I went to Leiths in London and did their Diploma in food and wine. I still look back on it as one of the best years of my life. It was a brilliant place to be inspired and to begin to learn.

…the pie aisle in the supermarket to me was blokey. It was beige food.

I went from Leiths to Good Housekeeping Magazine and that was just an incredible time…I call it the Pesto Sun Dried Tomato years.

We believed there was a future for Higgedy and we were wholly committed, we were all in and that literally did mean blood, sweat and tears.

…we began to get emails, letters, poems, recipes and communication from our customers who were telling us how much they loved what we were making.

As you get bigger it gets harder but we have done quite a big piece of work recently about our values and why we make pies and quiches and what does it mean and what’s important to us.

It does feel like a sort of big family here and we do have Higgedy babies, there are relationships, people have got together on the night shift and the day shift…

I have got a pile of cookbooks by my bed today, I love cooking.