So believes Uncle Roy, the award-winning producer of Comestible Concoctions. And he has certainly lived the motto. Here is his amazing story….
How did you get started?
My first job was packing tea and sugar in the village shop. Then I also worked part-time in an amusement arcade, then a meat pie factory, sold books door-to-door and even sold cars to servicemen, – all this while working as a meteorologist and an air traffic controller. But the civil service wasn’t for me and after a spell in Work Study I went back to the food industry and got a job on the griddles, later running restaurants. But there was also a spell as a financial consultant selling cashflow services, a job at a fireworks factory and a time where I ran a sales office for Rank Xerox.
Was there a Turning Point?
Yes. Suddenly I had had enough of jobs and being made redundant, so we went for The Good Life, in a rundown farmhouse in the wilds of Dumfriesshire where we farmed for 6 years before taking over the running of the village shop in nearby Corsock.
Wanting something more central we moved to Moffat by the M74 where we took over an ailing green grocery. It became an award winning delicatessen, filled with all sorts of local produce and also with a few of our own creations.
What made you start Concocting?
My Swedish wife introduced me to deliciously mild Swedish mustard. But people kept asking for Dijon and I wondered if we could make our own mild British mustard. So we invented four flavours of mild mustard and started to sell it them in the shop, and they were a success.
Was there a Big Break?
Yes. Of all things, people started asking for Burdall’s Gravy Salt. We couldn’t understand why. So I made a few enquiries and found that their factory had burned down and was not being rebuilt. We started making Gravy Salts (solid gravy browning) and it’s still one of our best-selling products.
Parting company with the deli meant we could start devoting more time to coming up with new products such as flower petal seasonings, edible flower petals, natural extracts, essences and colours, Yesteryear sweets, Oak Smokies, vanilla pods, jams, curds, jellies, mustard seed oils and Fudgetastic sauces. You name it! Everything comes in a variety of flavours, except my salad dressing. I always said I would never make salad dressing, as there was too much of it about but the fabulous Mustard Seed Oils demanded a change of heart. So we called it One & Only Dressing!
So success took a while coming?
Yes, and maybe for a reason. Life experience teaches you to look at things from different angles. All my jobs played a part, for example my years in retail showed me that jars and gorgeous labels are very important to make food sales.
Winning twenty six Great Taste Awards and then Dumfries and Galloway Life People of the Year Award in 2012.
When the Clydesdale Bank tried to shut down our deli. They got taken over by a big foreign bank and suddenly wanted us to repay our overdraft!
What’s your Favourite Music for Concocting?
Classical music in general, but if I had to name one piece it would be Frank Martin’s Mass for Two Choirs. The first time I heard it was when it was played on the radio and I had to stop in a layby to listen, it was so beautiful.
And have you got a Favourite Poem?
‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling’ I learnt the poem at the age of 12 when my father was a gardener on the estate of a Colonel’s widow. She offered me a white £5 note if I could learn to recite it, which was quite an incentive in those days!
What’s your best Characteristic?
Perhaps it’s that I believe in ‘filling the unforgiving minute’. Good Old Kipling!