Stefan Gellrich- A Day in the Life

You have to be a very early riser in my job – hitting the snooze button at 4am in the morning just isn’t an option! The very first thing I do before anything else is to have a cup of coffee – a caffeine fix is essential! I also like to watch the news, have a quick shower and prep breakfast for the family. This is swiftly followed by another quick coffee – ensuring I am ready for what the day has in store, and I set off to work at about 5.40am.

When I arrive at the Buckie-based factory I get into my work wear. In my job, operating on a food production line, it’s very important for us to maintain strict and very important policies with regards to cleanliness and health and safety. I put on my hairnet, hat, overalls, wellingtons, gloves and ‘scrub up’ - ensuring arms, wrists, fingers and fingernails are completely disinfected.

There are then all the essential morning checks to do – this includes the setting up and safety checks of the scales and machinery, whilst also ensuring our refrigerated store chill temperatures are set correctly. The wrong temperature could jeopardise our stock, which is the last thing we want!

It is then up to me to appoint the jobs to the staff according to our production schedule. Depending on what needs to be done I will give them a hand, cover staff breaks and organise traceability paper work and stock control. Whenever there are deliveries or orders to be picked up I’ll also operate the forklift and sort out the paper work for these.

Another important aspect of my job is product development. This is where my skills and background from Germany as a qualified master butcher come into play. In an industry that is constantly changing, often very quickly, it’s important to be able to predict trends in consumer preferences and come up with new ideas for products - preferably before anybody else! A lot of thought goes into these products; you have to look into things like legislations, shelf life tests, costing, feasibility studies, packaging, labelling and indeed, the product has to taste good!

The latest product I developed is a range of burgers that we called the “Beefed up Burgers” aimed at health conscious customers, body builders and sports people. The aim was a meat content of at least 90%, as little E numbers as technically possible, very low in carbohydrates and a range of ‘superfood’ ingredients like blueberries, chia seeds, kidney beans, hemp seeds and so on, that have known health benefits.

There are two breaks scheduled during the day, but I normally take them as I find the time - having even more coffee (!), eating my lunch and reading a book – at the moment I am reading a novel from the fantasy series called Mesmer, Book 1: Sanctuary, as well as a historical book on the Grampian Battlefields by Peter Marren.

The afternoon is pretty much just an extension of the mornings work, with the addition of all the necessary cleaning procedures for shutdown, and the day’s final checks.

Finishing time could be anywhere between 3pm and 5pm, rarely later, depending on the amount of work.

Once at home I do homework with my two boys who are 11 & 14 years old, go shopping, prepare dinner and take the kids to their Tae kwon do and Parcour training. These are in Buckie and Elgin five evenings a week – so there’s a lot of taxi driving to do!

To wind down I usually spend a few hours in my home gym and train kickboxing. I also have to admit I sometimes spend a couple of hours on the boys’ PlayStation!

My job can be demanding, particularly at peak times like Christmas or Burns night, but I really enjoy what I’m doing and can’t see myself doing anything else.

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