Wednesday, 28 May 2014

60 SECOND INTERVIEW: Richard Mabb


RICHARD Mabb lives in Askerswell and is the owner and founder of Saison! Seasonings. After 10 years running his own marketing agency in London, Mr Mabb moved back to his family home in Askerswell in 2003, where he began his first food business, Gustosecco Risottos. Following years of fine dining and shopping for produce around the world, he launched Saison! Seasonings in 2012 where he specialises in dishing up variations on traditional British food.

HOW did the idea for Saison! Seasonings come about?
I’m a foodie who’s been lucky enough to shop at produce markets and eat at grand restaurants, in cheap cafes, on building sites, on city streets, on country roadsides and in people’s homes in places from Spain to Libya to Sicily, Venice, Greece, Lebanon and especially Turkey. I wanted a quick, convenient way of adding their wonderful flavours to our everyday food and came up with the idea of adding authentic regional ingredients to salt and pepper, the necessities of good seasoning. Local farm shops including Washingpool and Felicity’s backed me when I first started and their generous support helped me find a wider public. I’m very fortunate to have been taken on by a national distributor and as sales grow so is the seasonings range, which now includes variations on basic British grub including stews, fish, roast veg, chops and pies.

YOU also appeared on BBC Radio Solent alongside Katie Martin. How was that?
Katie was a blast! The only thing is I think I talked too much. Katie started a conversation on food and I couldn’t help myself. I only shut up when she asked me if I sneezed while packing pepper. Then all I could do was to laugh.  

YOU also travel to different food festivals with your range of seasonings. Where can we see you over the next few months?
Our big launch for this year will be our first ever Saison! Christmas gift packs - Winter Home Cooking, Mediterranean Cooking, Cooking with Chilli and Ottoman Cooking. We have many new and exciting ingredients to source, products to make and labels to design for these between now and September so I’m holding back from food festivals until Eat Dorset at Parham House on October 18th and 19th.

WHAT has been the most exciting thing to happen in your career so far?
It was quite a moment when the 2013 Masterchef winner Natalie came up to my stand at the BBC Good Food show in Birmingham last June and bought our Lavender & Nutmeg Sugar, Orange, Fennel & Chilli Salt and Strawberry & Mint Pepper. Natalie was lovely and seemed really interested in talking about how flavours work together. We talked for what seemed like hours though it can only have been five minutes. Five minutes of magic for me!

WHAT three items would you like to have on a deserted island with you?
If there isn’t room for my own seasonings then firstly I’d want salt. Not that I’m always thinking about food but we can’t do without salt and I know that it’ll make whatever strange foodstuffs I find taste better. Then Turkish red chilli flakes, which I use to boost the flavour of almost everything savoury. 

IF you weren’t in the food business, what job would you have?
I’d like to be a soul singer. Nothing makes me happier on any given day than listening to Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, Bobby Womack and Jimmy Cliff. But you wouldn’t want to hear me down at the factory duetting with them via the radio!


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