Aphrodite’s top quality street food inspired by recipes and ingredients of the Eastern Mediterranean

INTERVIEW / 21 AUG 2016 / BY TENIA MENEGAKI

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Pomegranate Ketçhup © Aphrodite’s Food.
Aphrodites Food. Arches 370 & 371 Station Road, London, UK / aphroditesfood.com

Aphrodite Fingal-Rock Innes aka Dixie, and William Powell launched Aphrodite’s in 2015, a venture which emerged from a shared passion for food and Eastern Mediterranean flavours. After years of research, travelling and endless cooking (and eating) they have created a company they believe captures truly irresistible flavours. In the Autumn of 2015 they built a kitchen in a railway arch in East London and set about the task of producing and selling their delicious Ketçhup.

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Top quality food inspired by recipes and ingredients of the Eastern Mediterranean served up with lashings of the fabulous Pomegranate Ketchup © Aphrodite’s Food.

After months of trials and challenges, they have mastered their own unique sauce, Pomegranate Ketçhup which exists through Dixie’s lifetime loathing of commercial tomato ketchup. One morning while contemplating what she could slather on her bacon and egg sandwich she discovered pomegranate molasses, her favorite Middle Eastern ingredient, in the cupboard. Combining it with Turkish tomato puree salça and a blend of spices unknowingly she made her first batch of Pomegranate Ketçhup. After time and testing she’s now perfected the recipe to create this deliciously versatile sauce. Ingredients: Pure pomegranate molasses, tomato puree salça, fair trade unrefined cane sugar, onion, garlic, apple cider vinegar, spices, salt.

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Portrait photo of Aphrodite Fingal-Rock Innes aka Dixie © Aphrodite’s Food.

“Pomegranate Ketçhup”. It is very interesting, that you used a word more combined with the fast food world. Is that a motivation for consumers to exculpate delicatessen products and bring them to everyday habits?

The main reason we named our product Pomegranate Ketchup is because of it’s significance to the story of why I created it. Since I was a child I hated ketchup and was borderline phobic of the stuff. Initially I created our Pomegranate Ketchup as a condiment for myself instead of the awful ketchup that everyone else uses. When I gave it to my friends they were all astounded at how delicious it was and said I should sell it on our market stall, so I did. Another reason for using the word ketchup is that customers will have a better understanding of how to use it, rather than just using the word ‘sauce’. By definition Ketchup is a pureed condiment made with tomato, vinegar and used as a relish, and that is what we have created.

“It’s no myth that this deliciously unique & versatile sauce embodies the sweet and juicy flavors of the pomegranates ruby red jewels. Handmade with all natural Lebanese pomegranate molasses, rich tomato puree salça and sweet eastern spices; this sauce is not only a perfect accompaniment at any mealtime but a fabulous ingredient for home cooking.”

You put all your effort to use quality ingredients free from artificial additives, support small farmers and being sustainable as possible. Although your business has an international interface and is getting more and more successful. How you see that “GloCal” strategy? Is the “getting back to roots “ a new trend or exclusivity is the only path for independent small companies?

Sustainable, natural food and produce is something that has been deeply rooted in me since I was born. It is one of the most important parts of our business and this will never change. I believe a lot of small independents are leading the way in a GloCal strategy, as a result conscious consumers are choosing these small independents over the bigger businesses. The consumer is forcing big business to take note and act responsible, or at least appear to be.

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Top quality food inspired by recipes and ingredients of the Eastern Mediterranean served up with lashings of the fabulous Pomegranate Ketchup © Aphrodite’s Food.

It is true, smells and flavours cover the biggest percentage of memory.

Would you share with us, a unique, still vivid moment in life?

When I was around 8 or 9 years old I would make myself a big batch of dough on Sunday evening which I then kept in the fridge. I would wake up early before school (and before all my family were awake), sneak downstairs, break off a bit of dough and bake it in the oven until golden. The blissfully comforting smell of baking bread is truly one of the best smells in the world, especially first thing in the morning. Once baked I would slather it with delicious french butter from our shop downstairs and rich Nutella. Heaven.

Aphrodite’s Food image is enforced by a very strong branding in product packaging but also by it’s activities with the Street Food Van. What is the importance for you to complete with your products a full sense experience?

The brand image is very important to us, we are great lovers of art, design and innovation. We want our customers to really experience the level of quality that we provide, and the love and care we put into every aspect of our business.

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Top quality street food inspired by recipes and ingredients of the Eastern Mediterranean © Aphrodite’s Food.
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Blue-White minimal branding © Aphrodite’s Food.
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1963 Citroen Hy van (once a police horse box), which has been beautifully restored and fitted out with a fully functional kitchen © Aphrodite’s Food.

Please define the word “Gastronomy”?

Gastronomy is the creative art of truly good food.

Of course you are very young and have all the time to set more and more goals, but have you fulfilled any of your dreams? Any future plans?

Yes, I have fulfilled some of my dreams, which is a really lovely thing to think about actually. Running my own food business in London was always a dream of mine, so I can definitely tick that one off the list. The business still feels very young and new goals are set all the time. We have lots of future plans including different product ranges, books and dining concepts. Dreams more closer to home are very much around expressing our creativeness through designing and building our own house! Designing my own perfect kitchen would be the best part for me.

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Aubergine & Yoghurt Salad © Aphrodite’s Food.

Suppose you were hosting this coming Saturday night. And you could invite anyone you wanted. Dead or alive. Which four would you invite to come over and why?

Firstly, I would ask each guest to bring a dish! Chef Yotam Ottolenghi, a true hero of mine and one of my favourite chefs. Jean Michel Baquait one of my favourite artists of all time. My dad took me to one of his exhibitions in London when I was just 7 years old and was completely blown away. I did a show and tell in school when I returned and still have all the leaflets, postcard etc from that day. The Egyptian born chef Claudia Roden, another inspiration on mine, an expert of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking. Finally, I would invite my great grandmother, Lady Audrey Stanley (who sadly is no longer with us). She was the most wonderful painter and her house was always filled with beautiful objects and art. She also made the best rice pudding I’ve ever tasted.