Gourmet Spice Co was created by Mark Hughes in May 2011. After more than 20 years in a corporate life, Mark decided to put his passion for food into action.

After many months of work, he made a range of products & took them to a local food festival. To his delight, he sold out of most things & hasn’t looked back since.

In his own words…

I think being a foodie is a widely-coined phrase nowadays but can sometimes infer a certain snobbery with food. The truth is though, I think it’s more about having a higher appreciation for flavoursome and sustainable ingredients rather than claiming a particular food or method is superior to another.

I’m fortunate enough to have eaten in places like The Fat Duck & greatly enjoyed it, but then I’ll also greatly enjoy a lunch of sautéed kale on a garlic-rubbed bruschetta drizzled with oil costing a few pence. After all, good food is good food. But why start Gourmet Spice Co? Like many, I was working long hours & pushed for time but still wanted real flavour from food. I had slipped into a rut, eating mostly the same things week after week. I wanted to be able to use a pinch of this, a drizzle of that or a sprinkle of the other for incredible taste with real, pure ingredients. I didn’t want fruit vinegars packed with half a bottle of sugar or blends with fillers & I’m too impatient to follow rigid instructions so ‘curry kits’ are no good either. Then, frustration turned into inspiration!

I wanted something more versatile. So I made it.
By chance, my friends are also keen foodies & dinner parties often involve turning up with experimental dishes to see what others thought. There have been near-disasters (flashbacks of my friend looking up at me saying those immortal words “I hurt” whilst eating a curry so hot we were practically glowing) but, all in all, we had some terrific food adventures.

I recall like it was yesterday impromptu-Chinese-food-ordering in a San Francisco Jazz bar because I’d seen (then later tasted) the most incredible looking Sweet & Sour Crispy fish; ordering in Chinatown then accidentally intercepting another tables’ dim-sum too because we couldn’t understand a word the waiters were saying; laughing when our friend misunderstood the waiter in Morton’s Steakhouse & shaking his hand when he reached to take the menu back and so on.

Most of my funniest moments have involved food somewhere along the line and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Little was I to know that all these experiences would ultimately lead to me giving up the corporate life to create Gourmet Spice Co.
I guess I’d reached a point in my life where I wanted something more fulfilling, more fun, something that really excited me. I wanted to experiment, to play, to throw out almost everything I knew & start again.

I had one rule: to create incredible products from the purest, cleanest ingredients. And I wanted to show people that spice doesn’t have to mean hot.

I wanted to cut down on salt & sugar to create flavour combinations that aren’t typically seen, like blending coconut, lemongrass & lime for our Thai Rub, fusing classically-Asian spices with Italian balsamic vinegar, even soaking peppercorns in bourbon for a few days for our Fire-pit BBQ rub just because, well, I wanted to see what would happen. We’ve developed recipes with coffee & pure cacao to make red meats taste meatier, paired green apples with mango for a zingy fruit vinegar & found techniques of infusing oil to deliver flavour in distinct layers instead of all at once, like in our gorgeous Chilli & Lemon oil.

Somewhere along the way, this curiosity became our mantra. Indeed, our quest to try and get extra flavour out of something as humble as a peppercorn led to us being nominated for the Most Innovative Food & Drink Company 2011 & for the Most Innovative New Product Development 2012 plus a string of other nominations.

We’ve attracted the attention of a number of chefs, industry experts, bloggers & home cooks & are grateful for the myriad of ideas, advice & compliments we’re received from others that have been in the industry for longer. Our energy is even greater now.

We’re pushing boundaries to create amazing flavour combinations with an incredible range. And we’re having fun.

Long may it continue.

Comments 1

  1. Hello Mark,

    I’m contacting you from the New York Deli (NYD Vegan Foods) in Cardiff.

    We’ve bought some Beetroot powder from you a copule of months ago and would like to reorder ASAP.

    Please can you give us a call so we can arrange this.. 02920388388

    Thanks in advance Michael @ NYD Cardiff

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