As head of the General Electric Company Jack Welch was one of the world’s most respected and celebrated CEOs, known for his unmatched track record of success, enormous love of people, fierce passion for winning, and unbridled desire to change the world for the better using his unique management practices, which have become collectively known as The Welch Way.
Starting at the company in 1960, with a PhD in chemical engineering, on a salary of £600 a month, Jack Welch retired in 2001 from his position as CEO of the same company with a £300 million severance package, the biggest type of payment made to any U.S. CEO in recent history.
GE was a struggling industrials company, when he arrived; as CEO, it was transformed with a programme of systemic management change and determined cost reductions into a leading global conglomerate, branding him ‘Neutron Jack’ in the media.
On the way he’d managed to increase GE’s capital value by a factor of 30, or 4,000%, to considerably more than £200 Billion!
You’d think that would be a great opportunity to put your feet up and enjoy life. But our Jack doesn’t see that as an option.
When asked for advice on retiring, his reply is “Don’t!”
“”Who wants to just retire? Banish that word from your vocabulary,” he wrote on LinkedIn in 2015. “You’ve got to constantly reinvent and take a chance on something you’ve always wanted to do – it’s what keeps you alive. You’re never done.”
So after he left General Electric, Jack actually became more active in business. He has written three best-selling business books, co-authored with his wife Suzy: Jack: Straight from the Gut, Winning and The Real Life MBA.
He’s active in the management of numerous companies as part of a private equity group, and for four years wrote a popular weekly column for BusinessWeek magazine. His face became well known on television as a regular business commentator.
Always committed to teaching and building business leaders, at GE he’d created the world’s leading corporate training centre and regularly taught there himself.
In 2010, Jack founded the Jack Welch Management Institute, a business school that offers executive education and management training. The Institute runs a fully accredited MBA programme, with over 900 students.
No figurehead, he remained closely involved in every aspect. As Executive Chairman, he hosted videoconferences with students, appeared in exclusive videos about current business events and was deeply engaged in the development of the curriculum.
Sadly Jack passed away on March 1st 2020, having achieved what Kipling descibed as filling each unforgiving minute with sixty seconds run. So much for retirement, but what a fulfilling life and what a legacy he leaves behind!
Food sustainability isn’t just about protecting our environment, it’s about protecting us, the consumers, and supporting the farmers who make our food.
Affordability is a key element of what a sustainable diet looks like. I call my approach Root to Fruit eating. It is a philosophy that aims to make it easier for people to cook good food, blending a little chef’s knowhow with academic research, and making it applicable to home cooks and professionals alike. My shopping list comes in at just over £18 a week – cheaper than the average national weekly spend per person of £24. Over a year, that’s a saving of about £300 while still enjoying top-quality food (I buy everything from my local independent health-food shop or market, or organic items from the supermarket. Of course, if you need to bring the cost of your shopping down further, buy non-organic). I’m a vegetarian, so there is no meat on my shopping list, and eating less meat is certainly a good way of keeping costs down. However, if you are buying meat, opt for cheaper cuts of higher-welfare animals.
Every head chef works to a tight budget to make a profit. When we invent a dish, we cost and portion it gram for gram to calculate a gross profit of 70-75%. So a dish we sell for £5 must cost less than £1.25 to make, including any waste, which we are always looking to minimise.
That margin is there to cover the cost of rent, staff, utilities and, if you’re lucky, a profit. But chefs love good produce, so they devise other ways to keep their costs down, turning scraps that cost pennies into a fine meal for which patrons are happy to pay pounds. Noma, for example – one of the best restaurants in the world – serves cod’s head as a main course. Taking on board a chef’s thrift in the kitchen will help you save money while eating healthily and sustainably – as my guide and recipes show.
The weekly shop
The best chefs will buy local and seasonal ingredients where possible. Pineapples and pomegranates are luxuries to be enjoyed, but base the bulk of your weekly shop on seasonal produce from the market or through a veg box scheme and you will have a double win, improving the taste and economy. Alongside your basics (eggs, milk, butter, cheese, bread etc) choose a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables including legumes, brassicas and roots.
Weekly shopping list
£1 6 onions
50p 1 head garlic
£1.50 1.5kg potatoes
£1.50 1 bunch roots with their tops – carrots, beetroot, celeriac etc
£1.50 1 bunch leafy greens or celery with leaves
£1.50 1 bunch beans – broad, runner etc
£2 2 heads brassicas – cauliflower, broccoli etc
£42 bags fruit
£2.70 6 eggs
£21 litre milk
£2 250g butter
£3.50 1 loaf wholemeal bread
Monthly shopping list
Budget: approx £50 a month for two
£1.05 250g sea salt
£1.79 40g pepper
£1.55 50 teabags
£2.60 1kg oats
£6.50 500ml olive oil
£2.80 500ml sunflower oil
£1.70 350ml vinegar – cider, malt etc
£1.99 1.5kg wholemeal flour
£6.30 2kg short-grain brown rice
£3 1.5kg dried pulses – kidney beans, chickpeas etc
£3.60 2kg grains – barley, spelt etc
£3.60 1kg dried lentils
£3.60 250g nuts and seeds
£2 375g raisins or other dried fruit
£1.30 40g spices – coriander, cumin etc
£1.30 500g whole wheat pasta
£1.70 700ml passata
£1.99 200g creamed coconut
£1.89 340g spread – honey, Marmite etc
American pancakes are a delicious breakfast and a real treat that take minutes to make and cost very little. Mix 75g of wholewheat flour with half a teaspoon of baking powder, a teaspoon of vinegar and 100ml of water. Then fry little pancakes in a pan with the slightest drop of oil and serve with honey, jam or fruit.
Porridge with roasted rhubarb, hazelnuts and molasses
1 portion = 50p
Porridge is no longer thought of as gruel-like – now it is celebrated and topped with endless combinations of wonderful ingredients.
14p 50g oats, flaked buckwheat or spelt
11p 1 stick rhubarb
21p 15g hazelnuts
4p 2 tsp molasses or dark sugar
Place the rhubarb and hazelnuts on a tray in the oven at 190C/370F/gas mark 5 for 10 minutes. Simmer the oats with 150ml of water and a pinch of salt, stirring until it thickens, adding more water if necessary. Top with the nuts, rhubarb and molasses.
Eat like Yotam Ottolenghi and make colourful lunch salads using nutritious grains, seeds, dried fruit and seasonal vegetables. Use up the odds and ends from the fridge and take advantage of those leftovers. My pesto pasta recipe is a great example of how you can make a meal out of store cupboard ingredients and everyday vegetables.
Carrot- and beetroot-top pesto pasta
1 portion = 72p
Edible greens from root vegetables are delicious ingredients in their own right. Use them to replace pricier greens in dishes such as this one to reduce the overall cost of your shopping.
33p 100g wholemeal pasta
5p 2 tsp vinegar
16p 1 tbsp olive oil
5p 25g carrot tops or herbs, washed
5p 25g beetroot leaves or another root green, washed
5p 10g stale bread
3p 1 small clove garlic
Boil your pasta following the packet instructions. Blend the rest of the ingredients with a pinch of salt. Mix the sauce and pasta together and serve topped with more carrot leaves.
Time to be creative: cook simply and channel your grandparents with classics, whether it’s shepherd’s pie or a nut roast. Otherwise, invent your own dish. With fresh vegetables, you can’t go wrong. Roast, saute or simmer vegetables, toss them with herbs or toasted spices and serve them with a grain of your choice. About 50g of rye, barley, spelt or rice (10-16p) is a good portion. Or be inventive and concoct your own soup or stew to use up the withered vegetables hiding at the back of the fridge.
Spiced rice, roasted broccoli, carrot and peanut salad
1 portion = 92p
I live off salads such as this. They are very forgiving; go to town and experiment with what ingredients you have. Base your salad on a grain, and use vegetables – raw or cooked – for colour, nuts or seeds for crunch and dried fruit for a little sweetness.
24p 50g short-grain brown rice, boiled
25p ¼ head broccoli, cut into florets, stalk cut into 2-3cm pieces
7p 1 small carrot with leaves
16p 1 tbsp olive oil
5p 25g celery tops, chopped
8p 15g peanuts, toasted
8p 15g raisins
5p 1 heaped tsp garam masala
6p green chilli, sliced
Remove the carrot leaves, and wash and cut them up finely. Slice the carrot and toss with the broccoli and olive oil. Roast in the oven at 200C/390F/gas mark 6 for 15 minutes, or until the edges are charred. Mix with the other ingredients, season and serve.