Spice Up Your Life! February 5, 2018 17:36

When it comes to new products for the deli, it takes a lot to impress Diane! As well as having to taste blooming good, Provender Brown is dedicated to bringing its customers something a little bit different. 

So when we discovered Sri Spice kits, we were keen to put them through their paces.  The results were delicious! Fabulous kits, carefully measured and expertly blended, allowing you to create authentic curries in the comfort of your own home.

We caught up with Thea Samuel, the woman behind this taste-sensation, to find out more about her business. 

PB: How long have you been in business?

TS: I started the business in 2015 whilst also working in another job and looking after my children but went full time with it in 2016.

Tell us a little bit more about how Sri Spice came about?

I lived and worked in Sri Lanka in 2007. My work involved spending one night a week with a lovely local family in a rural village. My memories are filled with amazing meals, incredible people and beautiful scenery. The family I stayed with had no electricity but made the most delicious curries using fresh ingredients cooked on clay pots on an open fire.

After coming back to the UK I enjoyed experimenting with Sri Lankan ingredients such as cardamoms, pandanus leaves and coconut to make fresh healthy curries. I had many people tell me how delicious they were and also how much fresher and lighter they tasted in comparison to what they’d had before.

My children are half Sri Lankan so I also thought it would be a nice way for them to keep their interest in all things Sri Lankan. A little while after that Sri Spice was born!

What made you decide to move from cooking for friends and family, into production?

Whilst on maternity leave I had more time in which to make up curry recipes using  Sri Lankan ingredients such as coconut, curry leaves, cinammon etc  A lot of people told me that I should cook them for people as a job.

However, I didn't really want to have to work restaurant hours especially with having two small children. I did like the idea of helping people to make their own delicious curries where they could use their own locally sourced ingredients.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Get up and get the kids to school and nursery, check and reply to emails. I then check my stock against my orders and prioritise what I need to make first. I'm just a one woman operation so I never seem to manage to have much stock.It does mean that my curry kits are always really fresh and you can often smell the spices through the bag!

I will then either be roasting spices for the curry powders I make for the kits, dehydrating leaves or measuring out whole spices spoon by spoon into the little numbered bags. If I have a sampling I will also be making curry for the next day. Paperwork often gets done in the evening after the kids are in bed.

What issues have you faced since launching and how have you overcome them?

Juggling family life and Sri Spice was difficult in the beginning but now that the kits are selling well I have been able to increase capacity to ensure I can manage larger orders.

We love the look of your range, what is your favourite kit?

That depends what I want to cook with it but probably the Cardamom+Peppers for veg/ fish or chicken but if I’m going to eat darker meat such as lamb or beef than I especially love the Tangy Tamarind.

Have you got any plans to add any further products to your range in the near future?

Yes I do actually….watch this space!

Tell us one funny or quirky fact about your product or business.

Whilst cleaning my windows one day and making up some curry for sampling, the window cleaner popped his head around the door and said "you know hen that smells even better than my local chinese"- I always wondered if I should put this as a review on my website :-)

Thea will be with us at Provender Brown on Friday 9th February 2018, from 11am to 3pm. Make sure to drop in and say hi!