We sit with Beverley Ward, the founder of Vicky’s Kitchen to hear about where her venture into creating her Caribbean-inspired food company started and where it’s going, as well as the many highs and lows she’s faced so far while building her own business.
Tell us about yourself and your business.
I am the founder of Vicky’s Kitchen, an award-winning, Caribbean-inspired food company. I started out my career as an Events Manager, seeing lots of food trade shows which led to me gaining the experience necessary in starting my own brand. In my 20’s I knew I wanted to be self-employed eventually and when the opportunity arrived in the form of a gap in the market for artisan Caribbean food, I launched Vicky’s Kitchen to share with consumers the quality and taste of Caribbean cuisine, particularly from Guyana and Barbados What inspired you to start your own company in the food and beverage industry? My mum is an amazing cook. Having a head role in the kitchen at a higher education college, having trained extensively and attainting many skills in the field means she is always asked to cook for other people. I have always been surrounded by amazing foods and throughout my career, I was witness to the Speciality Fine food fair and the Great Taste Awards and was mesmerised by the quality and categories of food that I saw that wasn’t present in our supermarkets. Have there been any obstacles in your journey that you’ve had to overcome? Scaling and Manufacturing. There are many challenges and setbacks that come with a startup and finding the right manufacturer is key, while finding the wrong one can certainly challenge your resourcefulness. Thankfully we have found the one for us.
When it comes to the future, what heights do you expect Vicky’s Kitchen to reach and how do you expect that to impact the industry for future entrepreneurs?
We aim to have a ready meal range on the shelves alongside our condiments at supermarkets across the country so that we will become a household brand. We want to inspire others considering entering the industry to go for it and make their own mark on the food industry and make it a place for culture and inclusion. What have been some of the most rewarding moments of your food career so far?
Winning the Great Taste Awards has been the greatest highlight so far as those standards have hurled us forward, and we hope to gain a Great taste Producer badge this year. Being placed as high as some of the best products in the world without known brand bias interfering with our success has been exponential to our product goal of entering supermarkets.
Another notable joy has been meeting like-minded entrepreneurs from other black communities. When I first registered our company back in 2011, I can honestly say I didn’t know any other black-owned food brands that have strived to achieve what we set out to. There were mainstream brands but none in the artisan at the time which was polarizing at first. But that has changed a lot in the last decade. We are fully aware that we have been unrepresented until now and the energy in the community is buzzing with growth which we are so happy to be a part of.
Free-from, with love x