60 seconds with Noor Ali, Lead World Foods Buyer at Morrisons
We grabbed sixty seconds with Noor Ali, Lead World Foods Buyer at Morrisons. Morrisons generously sponsored our Sunday Food Fair on Streatham Green in August 2013. The event included a range of world foods plus craft skills from Morrisons craftspeople. Check out our album of the day via our Facebook page.
What does your job entail? Do you travel a lot in order to discover interesting new ranges for the store?
Being lead ethnic buyer is all about delivering products and services for our customers: getting the right products, in the right stores at the right price! This involves listening to our customers and store colleagues, working in partnership with our suppliers, and understanding the market trends both now and in the future. Travelling is key to role, mainly in the UK (stores, trade fairs, events and suppliers) and sometimes worldwide (to exhibitions) to ensure we capture any new trends and ideas
What is your favourite world food product on offer in Morrisons and why?
With over 2000 products within world foods that cater for the many communities and cuisines it’s really hard to say. Our world foods range includes Asian, African and Caribbean, Jewish – Kosher Foods, Far Eastern, Mediterranean, Eastern European and Irish. Each cuisine has its own favourites.
How do you decide which world food ranges and products go into the Streatham branch of Morrisons? What factors influence your decision?
We take into consideration the different communities living close to the store so we can ensure we cater for them from a shopping perspective. This is particularly important for key festivals and events such as Ramadan, Passover and Diwali (to name but a few), which may also be relevant for these communities.
Do you have any advice for the less adventurous home chef who hasn’t yet dabbled in cooking world foods – where should they start?
Look to your community – ask friends, neighbours and colleagues for their advice and recommendations. Plus, there are now many cookery books available which feature a diverse range of cuisines to try out at home.
And finally we’d love to hear your favourite ‘world food’ recipe
Being from an Asian background, home cooked food is so important to me and my family – I started to learn how to cook when I was 12! I love to mix different cuisines together and like to add something a little different to recipes to make our family meals more exciting. For example, an interesting alternative to the classic Enchiladas is to make a chicken tikka masala filling and adding a drop of peri peri sauce.
As well as being lead ethnic buyer for Morrisons, Noor is involved in community and school mentoring. Through her work and volunteering she thoroughly enjoys sharing her culture, knowledge and experience. She has a strong passion to coach and develop both individuals and businesses, mentoring and supporting them to achieve their goals.
Noor also holds the title of Businesswoman of the Year 2011 at the Asian Women of Achievement Awards. She is married with two children.