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From Island Breezes to Culinary Bliss: Mamanati's Caribbean Hot Sauce

Updated: Aug 28, 2023


And so, with a heart full of stories and flavors, Natasha embarked on her culinary journey, leading her to the inception of "Mamanati." The name itself speaks volumes – "Mother Nature" in Creole, a homage to her family's deep-rooted connection with nature and the legacy of spice trading. Born with Grenadian, Antiguan, and Nigerian heritage, Natasha's lineage is a medley of cultures, reflected vividly in her creations.





Tell us about your background and how you came to start Mama Nati?


Let me take you back to where it all began. Growing up in a family that cherished food, I was immersed in a world of flavours and culinary experiences from a young age. All my family members were passionate home cooks, and our kitchen was always filled with tantalising aromas and creative experimentation. There, I developed a deep appreciation for the art of cooking and a desire to explore the vast realm of flavours.





What's the business name and it's Caribbean tale?


The name is Mama Nati, and it means Mother Nature in Creole. That's how I was raised, my family and I are very close to nature. My grandparents are from the countryside and have a bit of a story of the empire in the spice trade era, which I can share later. I have Grenadian, Antiguan and Nigerian heritage. So both of my grandparents came from different places and migrated to the UK. My mom is half Nigerian and half Antiguan, and my dad’s side is from Grenada.



A little bit about Grenada.


Grenada is the island of spice. The island produces spices that are shipped around the world, and the leading product is Nutmeg. Fun fact about the spices in Grenada, it is so important to the country, that nutmeg is the drawing of the national flag. The island has cinnamon, ginger, cloves, bay leaves, and turmeric. In the past, spices are more valuable than gold.



Nutmeg & Granada's Flag

Grenadians have rich culture and history, Yoruba origin, and shared tradition with Africa reflected in the music, dance and cuisine. In fact, one of the major celebrated events is called the Spicemas carnival - a tribute to the island's famous spice production, which is happening during the month of August. Carnival is like a combination of triangles - The past, present and future. All three things at once. We remember the culture, legacy and tradition, celebrating it for today to help better the island's future.


There is also a spice trade within Nigeria. We have much unique local produce such as blue yam and the famous Antigua Black pineapple, said to be the world's sweetest. There are a lot of spices that they have that are unusual that people don't even know about.


In Yoruba culture, alligator pepper, known as ataare, holds a special place of importance. Although it is called a pepper, it actually belongs to the ginger family. The brown seeds of the alligator pepper are used in cooking, but it also serves as a unique gift to welcome a newborn child. This tradition has been passed down for generations. The alligator pepper is known to be good for the immune system and is given to newborns in a specific number. Dropping even one of these seeds is considered bad luck due to the superstitions and traditions surrounding it. The alligator pepper is a truly unique aspect of Yuroba culture that cannot be found just anywhere.



Aligator Peppers

Source: https://www.semichealth.com/fitness-nutrition/16/health-benefits-of-alligator-pepper



What's makes Caribbean cuisine unique?


In the Caribbean, having your own kitchen garden is a way of life. Within your garden, you can make pickles, jams, sauces, and condiments using fresh ingredients. This tradition has been around for generations, as the hot climate makes it difficult to preserve food without refrigeration. As a result, people have learned to be resourceful and creative with their ingredients, leading to a unique and flavorful cuisine that is a beloved part of Caribbean culture.



What inspired you to start your business?


My business is dedicated to two incredible women in my life: my grandmothers. One who sadly passed away in 2015. She was an amazing and creative woman who taught me so much, especially her cooking skills. She could turn leftovers into something delicious, like making chicken soup after roasting a chicken. She always leave a bit of sauce as left over, which she would use to season her hot sauce. I learned so much from her, from cooking Caribbean dishes to saving money by making my own clothes. Despite her skills, my grandma remained humble and kind, and I strive to embody her values every day.


My grandmother who from Antigua, who I called Nanna, is also an incredibly intelligent woman. She received a scholarship for her studies, which is how she ended up in England. She firmly believes that education and hard work are the keys to success, and she worked hard to become a legal secretary. She married my Nigerian grandfather,an engineer then migrated together to Hammersmith in 1948. Nanna always taught me that I could be whoever I wanted to be as long as I was willing to work hard. She hammered down this work ethic in us from a young age, like making sure I did my house chores before dinner, and I was always happy to be her little helper. Although she has retired now, she still gives me valuable advice whenever I need it. Both of my grandmothers have always inspired me to do great things, and I am grateful for their influence in my life.






A little bit more about My family


An interesting fact that has greatly influenced my entrepreneurial lifestyle is my great-grandfather's legacy as a renowned businessman and humanitarian in his time. His story is remarkable, and I wish to share more about him. You could read more about him. He appears in one of the recent articles of the Guardian in Nigeria.



Can you share a memorable moment?


It's been an incredible journey starting a hot sauce business as a hobby and watching it grow. It began as our family's little project, and we sold Caribbean food, cakes and hot sauce in the food market. We really enjoyed doing what we were doing, and It was fun. I'm so grateful and proud of how well people embraced Mamanati's products.


We did a lot of community events like the Hammersmith street fair. One day, one of the managers from Honest Burgers came and said they had been looking for this type of hot sauce for three years. and that time, It was the only traditional hot sauce I was making, and they tasted and loved the hot sauce. That was 4 years ago, and today, we still supply hot sauce on Honest Burgers.



Image Source: https://www.honestburgers.co.uk/food/burgers/hammersmith/



What makes your business unique and competitive in your industry?


I had a problem finding traditional hot sauce in the supermarket, so I decided to follow my grandma's footsteps and make it myself. I believe in using only natural ingredients free from preservatives, chemicals, E numbers, and unnecessary thickness. To achieve this, I grow 30% of the chillies myself, using Caribbean methods and fresh, natural ingredients. I source only the finest peppers, spices, and herbs to create hot sauces that perfectly capture the essence of each element. Along the way, I got to know some local producers who grew the ingredients I needed but couldn't find in grocery stores. If you're curious, take a look at other companies' sauces and compare their ingredients to Mama Nati's. You'll quickly see why Mama Nati stands out.



Home Garden


Mama Nati is not just about sauces; it's a labour of love and a family affair. I handcraft each batch with meticulous care to ensure the perfect balance of heat and flavour. Mama Nati represents our culture, as well as the work of my family. As someone with a background in fashion and an understanding of trends, I bring a unique perspective to the table. My mum is a nutritionist, my cousins also help make sauces, and everyone is involved in Mama Nati somehow. It's a source of pride for our family.



Can you describe a typical day as a small business owner and what your responsibilities are?



A lot of responsibility. I source high-quality ingredients from various places, including my own home garden, local producers, and the Convent Garden market, so I do some home gardening, find out what can be harvested and get other ingredients from local produce and also the Convent Garden market. To ensure freshness, I must prepare everything in the kitchen every few days, which can become quite hectic due to limited time and space.


Beyond cooking, I also manage marketing campaigns, update my website, and respond to customer inquiries. Additionally, I spend my evenings attending industry events, networking with others and seeking new growth opportunities. It's a demanding schedule, but I'm dedicated to growth Mamanati.



How has your business evolved, and what is its future potential?


Over time, my business has evolved in exciting ways. My future potential is to scale up, and what that entails is I still want to keep it traditional, so I feel like I need more people. The good thing about Britain is can show you what scale-up looks like.


I've also wanted to expand my product line to Asia. They like my sauce, which is unique and well-received by them, typically in Indonesia. Another reason is that it is also somewhere where they already grow similar ingredients, and we can get fresh produce because all my stuff is fresh produce.



What is your biggest success as a small business owner?


Mama Nati is still here! It is not easy, and I've been working really hard to deliver a high-quality product, and I'm starting to see the fruits of my labour.


It's amazing that I've so many varieties of hot sauces now and that they appeal to a wide range of customers, even those who don't typically enjoy hot sauce -starting to buy from me. Seeing people enjoy my products really makes all the hard work worth it. I'm also really proud to carry on my family's recipe and create a unique brand that resonates with people. I'm sure my grandmother would be very proud of me!


Mama Nati is still here! It is not easy, but my biggest success is displaying my culture with ethical Principles. And a big focus on sustainability and recycling



How do you balance the business & personal life?


Balancing the demands of running a business with my personal life and other commitments is an ongoing challenge even today for me. It requires discipline, organisation, and a clear set of priorities.


Over time, I've learned to set boundaries and make self-care a non-negotiable part of my routine. Moreover, I make a conscious effort to create space for the family. Sometimes I ask my sons to help me at work too.



What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to start a small Business?


First and foremost, follow your passion. Don't listen to what other people say. Do it because of your own thing. Because if you listen to what people say, you won't have any business. And also, just stay focused on what you want to do and don't put too much pressure on yourself. That is a big one. Because if you put in so much when I mean mental stress, you could go mad. Especially if it doesn't go the way you want it.


Starting a business is an arduous journey that requires unwavering dedication and commitment. Without a genuine passion for your work, stay focused, stay positive, and never give up.



What we think


Natasha's fusion of heritage, cooking and innovation in Mamanati's hot sauces resonates with our love for food stories. Her dedication to tradition and sustainable ingredients is inspiring. Join me in supporting her journey, savouring flavours that connect us to culture and family. Natasha's tale enriches our appreciation for culinary connections.



Mama Nati - Contact and Order



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