Talking to… Vicky’s Kitchen

What is your real name?

Beverley Ward

So that we can identify your products, can you describe your logo to us, is there a story behind it – how did it come about?

The brief for our logo was to represent homecooked food, Caribbean food made with love, which is what we’re about. The logo includes a Dutchie pot and Caribbean ingredients. We are currently having this updated, little tweaks!

Why did you begin creating your own sauces?

My mum always made The Red One for friends and family. My brother and I suggested she sell it, but she wasn’t up for it. In my 20’s I decided I didn’t want to work for someone else for the rest of my life and in my 30’s, found what I wanted to do, sell our hot sauce.

Tell us, what were the biggest challenges you faced to get your products where they are today?

Hustling for seven years. In those years I’ve always had a day job, started a family and moved from London to the East Midlands.

The beauty of working with chilli is that it’s such a versatile ingredient. What’s your favourite chilli dish? Care to share the recipe?

Hmmmm, think it has to be salt fish fritters, recipe on our Insta feed.

What else do you enjoy cooking, are you a baker for example?

 I honestly don’t have much time to indulge in cooking. Lately working on our roti pop up has been good, learning how to make dhal phourie with my mum. We are constantly making improvements.

Have you got any funny chilli stories?

When I started dating my now husband, I told him not to help himself to any food at my mum and dads because there was often pigs tail, trotters, cow foot etc. being cooked. One day he was in the kitchen on his own and saw a pot on the stove. He got a spoon. At that point, spoon half in, he hears my mum coming so fills the spoon and puts it in his mouth.

He returned to my bedroom, where me and my cousin were, face completely purple and could hardly speak. I said to him

‘you didn’t?!’

Me and my cousin double over as we knew he had sampled the pot. He had downed a full soup spoon of a freshly made Red One.

Of the kazillions of chilli peppers available, which one is your favourite, and why?

 I’m gonna be honest, I have seen loads and not tried that many, which is something I want to change this year.

Of the ones I have tried I love chipotle, just love smoky heat.

Other than chilli, what’s your favourite ingredient to work with?

 Don’t really have one, if anything smoked paprika, I use it in loads of dishes.

What was the last thing you ate that blew your head off?

A lamb curry I made

Ever grow your own chillies, do you have any luck?

Nope, I’m not green fingered

There’s loads of other amazing artisan chilli sauces out there (and some real mass-produced crap), which ones do you like and why?

From the Hot Sauce Society last year, my eyes were opened.

We really like Satans Gravy in our house, really well-defined flavour. Mama Lolly’s Tamarind, love tamarind and it’s hard to find

 The Fat Chilli Man, Caribbean sauce, a really tasty sauce that contains Mount Gay Rum. I want to get my hands on some of the Singularity range because they sound lush! Just purchased Sauce Shop Habanero for market research.

Have you fulfilled your chilli dream or are there more things you want from your products?

Ooo there’s loads more, just not all sauce.

Do you have other flavours or ideas in the pipeline?

Yes

Briefly, where can we find your sauces? Do you sell in shops, at festivals, markets or events for example?

www.vickkitch.com

http://hammonds.uk.net

https://store.edible16.org.uk

https://madeinnorthamptonshire.org

https://thefarmshopco.co.uk

https://waterloocottagefarm.co.uk

Do you visit any chilli festivals? Which chilli event is your favourite?

I haven’t been to any! I started to look at them last year and got a bit overwhelmed! My day job had been in exhibitions and events so I never was thrilled about visiting more events outside my day job. I’ve had a long break from that career and was ready for it this year.

Have you got a ‘proper’ job?

Yes, I’m the Co-founder of Vicky’s Kitchen

What advice could you offer someone wanting to make their own sauces?

I didn’t have to start from scratch, so I have a real different experience to most of the artisan market out there today. I can see a lot of experimenting happening, so I’d say make what you want. If there’s a sauce that you’d like to have in your home, that doesn’t exist, try making it.

Quick-fire questions:

Milk or Beer?  Milk

Salad or roast? Salad

BBQ sauce or Ketchup? BBQ

Kylie or Metallica? Metallica

Bottle or Jar? Depends on the content

Peri-Peri or Piri-piri? Piri-piri

korma or vindaloo? Vindaloo

Romantic meal for 2 or big family feast?  Family feast

Food festival or music festival? Oooof…music

Finally, if you could cook for anyone who would it be and what would you make for them?

Salt fish fritters with our new Yellow Sauce for my nan. She is 95 and lives in Barbados. Having given us the recipe recently, I’d love to be able to see her to hug/kiss her and thank her for contributing to our business (*gets emotional).