Wednesday, 27 August 2014

How we started 'Curry with Love'

Curry with Love was established in 2011. I had been working in the Police for almost 11 years prior to this, but a long stint in Child Protection had worn me down and I needed a fresh challenge. With little experience in anything other than the law, I opted for what I loved...FOOD

I knew my new venture had to be healthy yet creative. At the time I had been cooking my way through a Madhur Jaffrey book for my husband and I at home. I felt I had got to grips with the use of both ground and whole spices, but the only thing going against me was time. It would on average, take around 4 hours to prepare a great curry from scratch. I knew there must be an easier way, and so I set about trying to find one.

My first port of call was, of course my mum. I ran the idea of a 'Curry Kit' past her and asked for her help and ideas in developing it. Together we spent many, many hours in my kitchen trying to develop a healthy, yet authentic kit. When we felt we were getting close to the finished article, we invited friends and family over for dinner. Mum and I then proceeded to make around a dozen different curries, using our 'kit' method. 

Our official tasters had comment cards so we could keep track of how each curry tasted, and what was needed to improve the product. I must say that a couple of the curries didn't make it as far as the table and went straight into the bin, even bypassing my very greedy basset hound 'Tallulah'!

On serving the curries to our 'food critics', Mum and I realised pretty soon that we were on to something special. Over the next few weeks we continued to develop our initial range. Some curries just didn't make the grade initially, and so we settled for just 8 curry kits to get us started.

My dear husband gave me £200 and told me to 'invest it in the business'. That was my start up cost.

The next issue was where and how to sell our goods. For me, that was easy. My dad had been a trader on Bury St Edmunds market for 30 odd years. He was due to retire and said I could use some of his stall to try to sell our kits. And so it began. 

I initially started to hand-blend the ground spices (spice pack 1), whilst mum worked on packaging the onions, garlic and whole spices (spice pack 2). But we all soon realised that I was so heavy handed with the delicate spices, that even the mildest curry would often give a vindaloo a run for it's money! So 'Mummy B' sacked me from my post and we switched roles. It's been that way ever since.

I also cobbled together some home made printing, which showed the name of the curry and a very comprehensive set of instructions. These were neatly folded and placed into each and every kit. Looking back now it was such an expensive and time consuming process, but I will remember those days fondly, as it shows the hard work, dedication and passion for our product, that has enabled mum and I to carry our work forward, to where it is today. Each Curry Kit was, and will always be 'made with love'.

    our original curry kit design

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