High hopes for Hatfield's spice girl
PUBLISHED: 15:00 22 March 2014
A Hatfield businesswoman who imports spice products from India is one of just five who pitched to an expert panel, competing for the title of Britain's Next Top Supplier.
Mother-of-two Gouri Kubair, of Oaklands Wood, who imports for her family business Holy Lama, demonstrated her products for Sir Stuart Rose, chairman of online supermarket Ocado, and celebrity chef Tom Kerridge last month.
Although the winner of the competition has not yet been announced, she is hopeful Ocado, which is based on the Hatfield Business Park, will list her as a regular supplier regardless.
Mrs Kubair, a qualified accountant who left Deloitte in St Albans to concentrate on her business, told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “I was extremely nervous.
“It was a bit intimidating. But Tom Kerridge [a Michelin-starred chef] was impressed with the quality of our saffron.
“That was the biggest compliment ever. He really knows his stuff.”
The 34-year-old has been importing natural body care products from the factory in the south-western state of Kerala since 2011, but expanded into concentrated spice extracts in October, selling at fairs and markets.
Oil-based eextracts have several advantages over powdered spices, including a longer life, less cooking time, and suitability for flavouring drinks, chocolate, or ice cream.
Mrs Kubair continued: “I am very excited.
“If we get listed, I will have to take on someone to help me, and it will mean a better standard of living for all our people.”
She highlighted the Kerala factory’s Fairtrade accreditation, which assured decent working conditions and pay for its 25 full-time employees.
The products can be ordered at www.holylama.co.uk