A Chat with The One Food Company
Published: Monday 30th Mar 2020
Written by: Isobel Taylor
Everybody loves a takeaway now and then, no cooking and minimal washing up is always a winner on holiday! But this doesn’t always mean compromising on healthy eating. Ben Andrew started his company as he wanted to create takeaways and sauces that not only taste good but are healthy and full of delicious, local ingredients. We caught up with him to discuss why he felt there was a gap in the market for his sauce and takeaway service, what he loves about working in Norfolk and his favourite dish on the menu.
What is your role at the company?
I’m the sauce manufacturer and chef at ‘The one ‘Norfolk’ food company.
What was the initial idea about the company?
I started making sauces after I spotted a gap in the market when working in a smokehouse in Norfolk. All of the sauces we prepared were full of sugar and high in salt. Being a father of a young family, I wanted to create a sauce that was healthier and one that I’d be happy to feed to my own children. It was also important that the sauce would complement a wide range of food.
My breakthrough came when I was trying to create a more vibrant colour for a hot sauce. I’d used a small amount of roasted beetroot and wondered how it would come out with the quantity of chillies and beetroot reversed. A few tweaks of seasoning and spices and our Smoked Chilli and Beetroot Sauce was formed!
Just for market research purposes we developed meals that would complement the sauce which is where the meal side of the business grew from. We had a large demand from friends and family and started to sell and deliver pre-ordered set meals. We now design a new set meal every couple of weeks, varying the cuisine each time. The demand has risen so much that we’ve moved on to frozen meals also, meaning you can pop our yummy dishes away in the freezer perfect for an evening when you don’t feel like cooking but want a healthy and tasty meal.
What does a day typically look like for you?
A typical day starts with design and research. Our kitchen is situated in the Javabean coffee roasting warehouse which means drinking lots of their locally produced coffee - perfect for being productive! We try and source our products as locally as possible. For example, our meat comes from local butchers Archers in Norwich and also Beehive. Fruit and vegetables come from Easters and any extras we go to local farm shops. We love using these suppliers and the Norfolk food community is always there to help and being part of this community has really helped us grow the business. In particular, being a member of Proudly Norfolk means they are always on hand to help us grow and communicate together.
What makes The One Food Company unique?
What makes us different to other takeaways is the menu choice. We have Middle Eastern, North African, Japanese, American and Indian cuisine. We like to change things up so we often put our own spin on things, like our kale bhajis, Sri Lankan spiced Camembert, dhuka popcorn and smoked pork, soy marinated scotch egg to name just a few. We want our takeaway meals to be healthy but also interesting.
Our freezer fillers range from staples like lasagne and chilli, to Middle Eastern lamb ragu, pea and broadbean falafel to smoked Japanese pork rib with crispy kale seaweed. Again, the focus here is making sure the meals are healthy but also the variety means there should be something for everyone to enjoy.
If you had to pick one dish to recommend, which one would it be?
One of our most popular meal deals is the Indian thali. A mixed platter of spiced bbq chicken, kale bhaji, masala potatoes, chickpea and butternut patties, with cumin veg, dhuka popcorn and Sri Lankan coconut snore sauce - delicious! A typical deal for 2 is £20-£30, including delivery to your door and frozen meals range between £5-£8.
When you are not working what do you like to do in Norfolk?
Being a full time chef, my down time with the family is getting outside and seeing the lovely varying habitats of the Norfolk countryside. We have a bit of everything here, sparse heathland, long sandy beaches, and woodland and of course, we love seeing the seals at Horsey or Blakeney.
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