Interview: Mr Singh’s Fabulous Fiery Cookbook!

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To celebrate the release of Mr Singh’s Fabulous Fiery Cookbook, we sat down with Kuldip Singh, just one component in the huge Singh family, to find out about the family, the new recipe book and most importantly, the food!

 

Tell us about the family and how you all got into cooking.u

Like many in the UK, my family is originally from East Africa and came to the UK in the 60’s. My brothers and I were born here. The food we have grown up enjoying has been a mix of English, Kenyan and Punjabi flavours. Both my mother and father have 5 siblings each, meaning I have 25 first cousins! Growing up, our family gatherings were always huge, busy affairs with food being cooked in the house and also on the BBQ in the garden. We were exposed to shopping at the market, spices, raw ingredients, food preparation, tasting and eating together at a young age. This became our way of life and as we grew older, we learnt to make our own food and developed our own tastes with food being at the heart of our family.

What’s the story behind Mr Singh’s Hot Punjabi Chilli Sauce?

In 1985, during a BBQ to celebrate the birth of my brother Rav, my father decided to create his own chilli sauce to go with his famed Kenyan style kebabs. The sauces on the market at the time did not suit my father’s tastes and after some experimenting in the kitchen, he had a “eureka!” moment- Mr Singh’s Original Chilli Sauce was born. He tried selling the sauce over the years without much luck.In November 2008, he came home, soaking wet from the rain and I asked him what he had been doing. He replied “trying to sell sauce.”

In November 2008, he came home, soaking wet from the rain and I asked him what he had been doing. He replied “trying to sell sauce.”

A few weeks later, I saw an advert for the BBC Good Food Show in Kensington and decided to book a stand for £900 on my credit card. I came home and asked my family to help as I needed to make 1000 bottles of sauce to sell so I could pay off my credit card. Thankfully everyone said yes and for the next 9 days we made chilli sauce in our shed until it was time for the show. At the event, we sold out and this was when Mr Singh’s was born. Today, the brand is stocked by Selfridges, Ocado, Booths, Asda, Sainsbury’s and over 450 local shops.  We even export to Hungary and Kenya. We have been on TV, radio, newspapers and magazines including Vogue! All from a garden shed.

What are you hoping people will get out of this recipe book?

I am hoping people will get a sense of connection and happiness when they read our book and cook our recipes. Many Asian families in the UK share our East African heritage and will be able to connect to our story. We have been open about our lives and with personal pictures (including one of me in my chubby “puppy fat” years!). I hope these images and stories will give people happiness when they think of their own special moments. I also hope people will get a sense of excitement when getting into the kitchen and make delicious food for their loved ones to enjoy- can we get an invite, please!?


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Which of the recipes is a particular favourite of yours?

Personally, my mum’s recipes are my favourite because this is the food my brothers and I grew up eating.  They have a lot of meaning and are often simple to make.  There is a simple “Boga Sandwich” recipe which tells the story of how it reminds my mum of her time smelling the wet earth after it rained in Kitali, Kenya. I have used the book to learn how to make paranthas! I had never made them until I read how easy they were- of course, mum’s are always going to be better!

What do you think makes Indian food so distinct from everything else?

I think Indian food is distinctive because it is so diverse. We overlook how large a country India is. If you look at Europe, we have Italian, English, Spanish, German and Swedish food for example. In India we have Gujarti, Keralan, Goan and Punjabi food (to name a few).  Because we share our food and share our ingredients, spices, cultures, it creates a diverse range of foods which are delicious and unlike any other on earth.

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How does cooking help bond the family?

Cooking helps bond the family because eating food is generally a enjoyable experience and one of the few opportunities to stop, breath and enjoy what has been created. Food has the power to bring people together in the most happiest way possible.  How many times have you dropped what you are doing because mum has made your favourite meal or because a friend has fired up the BBQ for you?

How many times have you dropped what you are doing because mum has made your favourite meal or because a friend has fired up the BBQ for you?

Once you start to cook together, because you are creating together it develops meaning because everyone understands what it has taken to create the meal and when it tastes great too, there is no comparable experience!

What’s the next step for the family/business?

The next step for us is to do our best and get our book to No. 1 on the best sellers list! Our next goal is to get Mr. Singh’s to become a £10m brand within 3-5 years. We recently held a successful crowdfunding campaign which will help us really grow the business. We will be going to to America in 2017 too which will be a really exciting opportunity.  Our social media videos are becoming increasingly popular, with our last one called “The Spice Boys” reaching 1m people. Because of this we will be producing more videos to reach more people.

 

For more from the fiery family, visit:

http://www.mrsinghssauce.co.uk/products/?category=Bundle+deals

www.facebook.com/mrsinghssauce

www.instagram.com/mrsinghssauce

www.twitter.com/mrsinghssauce

 

 

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