This time last week myself and Nicola spent the day at the Scottish Speciality Food Show at the SECC. One of the first exhibitors that I met was Stephen Kwan, the man behind Kwan's Kitchen. The Kwan family have a long heritage within the Chinese restaurant trade, running Beijing Beijing in Galashiels and Kwan's Chinese Restaurant in Kelso.
Kwan's Kitchen supply traditional Chinese spice mixes and condiments to a host of suppliers across the UK. In order to maintain quality and authenticity, all of the condiments are made in small batches within the kitchenn of the Beijing Beijing Restaurant, using no MSG, artifices colouring, flavouring or preservatives.
Here's their story;
How did you get started?
I was a restaurateur and Chef for 10 years running my own Chinese restaurants until one day a customer asked me to “can” the recipe for “Salt & Pepper” dishes such as Chicken wings. Following a series of failed attempts “Salt & Pepper Spice” was created which subsequently won 2 Gold Stars at the Great Taste Awards in 2011. Following the award I launched an authentic range of restaurant quality Chinese condiments which includes Blackbean & Garlic and Szechuan Chilli Oil. You can use all three condiments to create many different tasty Chinese dishes. We quickly listed in a number of local delis including Realfoods in Edinburgh and now stock throughout Scotland.
What’s the best piece of business advice you could give?
Where would you like to see your business in 5 years time?
Supplying fine food retailers throughout the UK.
If you could only cook one of your own products/recipes, what would it be & why?
Blackbean & Garlic on Salmon Fillet – quick, tasty, healthy and indulgent!
You can invite one person (living or dead) to your last meal – Who would it be and why? …and what’s on the menu?
Choosing just one guest would be easy! It would have to be my loving partner who has encouraged me and supported me throughout this adventure! I would cook Szechuan Salt & Pepper Prawns, delicious!
We managed to sample some of the condiments in the range, including a fantastic blend of black bean paste with Szechuan chilli oil, as well as the aromatic salt and pepper spice mix. Both were packed with flavour and tasted like something you would eat in an authentic Chinese restaurant.
With Chinese New Year just around the corner, why not check if there's a Kwan's Kitchen stockist near you and bring in Chinese Year of The Horse in style.
Keep up to date with Kwan's Kitchen on Facebook and Twitter.