University College London (UCL) student Sean Davey, 22, who comes from Swindon has been awarded £5,000 in funding for his new business selling Caribbean seasoning called Granddad’s Seasoning.
It’s based on a family recipe known only to the family of ‘Hackney Heroine’ Pauline Pearce, the community activist who berated rioters during the disturbances in London in summer 2012.
Sean has named his business – Grandad’s Kitchen – in honour of Pauline’s father, who’s family recipe for traditional Bajan seasoning Sean has used to create the business’ flagship product, Granddad’s Seasoning.
Sean’s inspiration for the business came from visiting Brixton market in his first year of studying a degree in Philosophy at UCL, where he got a taste for the Caribbean culture for which the area is renowned.
The idea remained dormant until after the 2012 riots, during which Pauline became a YouTube sensation after a video showing her berating rioters in Hackney was published on the site.
Sean, keen to contribute to healing community tensions following the riots, first met Pauline at an event about the riots which took place in Hackney, the epicentre of the disturbances. They found they got on well, started campaigning together, and it was from there that one day, Pauline presented Sean with a washed-out pasta sauce jar with some of what was to become Granddad’s Seasoning. A business had been born.
The seasoning is the work of Pauline’s father Wilbert which he has been making since the 1950s to a traditional recipe from Barbados. The seasoning had already been established as a winner in Wilbert’s home town in Hertfordshire, where he had already been selling it to fellow allotment holders for many years.
Sean and Pauline are currently using the traditional recipe to make and sell Grandad’s Seasoning across London, and are in discussion with Bloomsbury-based social enterprise The People’s Supermarket to stock the seasoning there.
With the premise of the business focussed on sourcing products in collaboration with the community in Hackney, the company is already lining up its next product, Granddad’s Hackney Hot Sauce, for launch.
Sean gained the funding for his idea as part of UCL’s Bright Ideas Awards, designed to enable students keen to start their own businesses to take the next step in making their ideas a reality.
His award has been announced as part of the seventh annual UCL Awards for Enterprise, which celebrate the exciting new business ideas of student and graduate entrepreneurs as well as showcasing the entrepreneurial activities of staff and sector-leading partnerships between UCL and the business community.
Sean said: “We know we have a great recipe for our product, but even more important than that is the spirit in which food is made – and we think Granddad’s seasoning has that in spades.
“We also really want our products to taste just like, and preserve, the Caribbean culture they are born from. We wanted to bring Caribbean cuisine and tastes to the wider public and Granddad’s Kitchen is definitely the first step to achieving that.”
Timothy Barnes, Director of UCL Advances – UCL’s Centre for Entrepreneurship – said: “Both Sean and Pauline have impressed all of us here at UCL with their determination to make their business a success. We could see from the very beginning that the business has enormous potential, which we hoped we could accelerate through providing funding for them at a crucial early stage.
“Granddad’s Kitchen deserves to go far and we’re all looking forward to watching the business develops.”