The most striking thing about spending time with the key players of Bite Collective is how at ease they are in each other's company. Directors, on the whole, are a wary bunch with a sharp eye for any perceived slight, but – based on this evidence – food directors may be a breed apart. Or perhaps it's just that this group in particular don't feel they have anything to prove to one another, and even less to prove to a visiting journalist. Whatever the reason, this is a very happy and convivial collection of people, and it was great fun learning about their hopes for their new enterprise.
When asked whose idea it had been to form this supergroup of food directors, Charlie Stebbings immediately pointed at Niall Downing. The former 2AM director agreed that he had indeed "come up with this version of it", before adding that the notion of combining forces had been floating around for ten years or so.
It felt to Downing as though Bite was an idea whose time had come… and this is largely because work is as likely to be commissioned by brands as it is by agencies these days, prompting an overall shift in the dynamics of the advertising industry.
But he didn't feel the pandemic had particularly played a part in the decision to combine forces, although he conceded that the first lockdown in summer 2020 had given them time to plan the new venture.
Charlie Stebbings agrees that this was the main impact of Covid for the new company: "the pandemic provided an opportunity to examine where our lives are going, across the board really."
Alex Katz added that because of the pandemic, it felt as though "all bets were off", and there was now a chance for companies to reconsider how they operate, and what they can offer. In the case of Bite, this means being able to offer the greatest concentration of food directing experience ever gathered within one company.