In this, the first of our “In the spotlight” series, we’re sitting down with our Co-founder and VP of Partnerships, Nico Desormeaux, to find out more about him… and his unrelenting love for seafood. ✊
First of all, tell us about your role at Rooser
My title is Co-founder and VP Partnerships. To put it in a more human way, I take care of the external relationships that Rooser has with the world of seafood.
What was your career like before Rooser?
I’ve been in the seafood business for over 20 years now.
My first job out of school was in seafood - at Rungis market in south Paris. I worked nights as a sales person, on the floor selling fish to restaurant chefs and fishmongers.
Following that, I spent 8 years as a seafood buyer for a National Central Purchase company. Then I moved to Brittany, where I spent the next 8 years as Commercial Director for one of the main actors for shellfish within the European market.
… Then I met Joel (Co-founder of Rooser) through a mutual friend. And I’ve been on this crazy journey at Rooser ever since.
You mentioned you started your career at Rungis market, which is known to be the second biggest wholesale market in the world. What’s your earliest memory of working there?
I still remember it like it was yesterday. I started as a trainee for a small company that dealt directly with supermarkets. On my first day, my boss handed me a list of phone numbers and another with fish to sell. He then stood in front of me whilst I made my first call.
ME : “Hello, can I speak to the fishmonger?”
BUYER : “Yes.”
ME : “Hello fishmonger. Do you need some fish?”
BUYER : “No.”
ME : “Okay.”
BUYER : [Puts phone down]
My boss looked me straight in the eye and took the phone from my hand. He called the guy right back - he hasn’t even blinked at this point.
“Hi [fishmonger], let me tell you what you’re going to buy today!”
… It was a long day.
What led you to leave the relative safety and security of your job as Commercial Director to start on your journey with Rooser?
Joel strongarmed me! 😂
He left a strong first impression of himself on me. A super smart and equally crazy guy - very determined. I loved his passion. And perhaps more importantly, I could see how I could help him drive his mission forward, and where we could work well together and complement each other. We spoke more and more about what Rooser could become and we just kept going. And here we are.
You’ve been building Rooser for the past 5 years now. What is it that still gets you up in the morning?
We’re still so much at the beginning of our story, with so much more to accomplish. Every day there’s a new challenge, and we’re building something that’s new to the industry. It’s super cool!
And what still keeps you up at night?
The fact that we’re still right at the start of our journey - We have so much to do and there’s never enough time to do it. I’m always prioritising things in my head. My body might sleep at night, but I’m not sure my head does.
What’s your favourite thing to do to unwind?
Sports. Particularly swim-run. I love it! I really need to exercise. It helps me zone out of work for a short while. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to learn that it’s important to take care of your mental health; otherwise you’ll just burn out.
Okay, now it’s time for our quick fire round...
If you didn’t work in seafood, what would you have done instead?
I like sourcing, so wood or stone I think. I just think they’re cool. I like working with things that relate to nature.
Where did you go on your last vacation?
What was your favourite subject in school?
Seafood at college. Biology in early school.
What is your favourite word in another language?
The way the English say “bizarre”. I’m not sure why, it just sounds strange to me. 🤷
What’s your biggest strength?
I like working with people - empathy.
We’re down to our last three questions…
What’s your favourite seafood dish?
Abalone with smashed potatoes and salted butter.
If you had your own fishing boat, what would you name it?
Simon and Lily-Rose, after my children.
What would you say to someone thinking of joining the Rooser team?
If you want to have a real impact on something; you’re humble but hard working; and enjoy not knowing what’s coming next… and don’t scare easily, come join the fun - You won’t regret it!