Moving to Aberdeen to complete his studies in oil and gas management, Dami Odugbemi left the industry seven years ago to set up condiments business Succulento with his wife Ify.
Offering premium condiments such as hot sauces, ketchups and rubs, Dami says their flavoursome products make excellent additions to almost every recipe.
Following in his mother’s footsteps who owned a restaurant in Nigeria, Dami is proud his award-winning products continue to become more and more popular with north-east foodies.
We caught up with Dami to find out more about his passion for cooking, why he decided to leave his oil and gas career behind, the firm’s current offering and what’s next for Succulento.
So, tell us, when did you discover your passion for cooking?
I spent a good time with my mum in the kitchen and helped her run her businesses – including her restaurant – which I managed whenever I was around. I am so grateful for the experiences and the opportunity she gave me because it’s part of the foundation stones of Succulento. Being a caterer, she was never afraid to try something new. In addition, my wife had similar influences from her mum and it has definitely created a passion for food and also a thing to try something new.
That sounds wonderful. Was your wife’s family also working in the catering business?
We have a collective heritage of more than 50+ years working in hospitality. My wife’s family owns an industrial farm that supplies poultry to different channels and my family is in the catering business for corporate, government and personal engagements. As we grew up, we were involved in the running of these businesses. This, coupled with our opportunity to travel globally and experience different cuisines, has driven our keen interest and journey in making taste a lot tastier. Thus, we chose to start the company in 2014 with a dream of making eating an interesting experience. We started by doing some catering in Aberdeen with some of the sauces in wraps.
What brought you to Aberdeen originally?
I came to Aberdeen in 2010 to do a full-time MBA in oil and gas management and I fell in love with the city. Fast forward to June 2013 when my job came to an end, I was torn between applying for other roles or following my passion, which was to work in the hospitality and entertainment industries, but I was not sure what it was exactly. While I was contemplating on what step to take, my wife and I noticed that our colleagues at work always had an issue or were bored of the offerings during lunch and events. During this time, I found out that my wife had a certificate in catering in addition to her formal education – she is a lawyer and has an LLM.
Succulento sells a wide range of condiments. Could you talk our readers through your current offering?
We currently have a range of sweet and spicy sauces, spices and some premium snacks. We pride ourselves on making our condiments from fresh natural ingredients inspired by our heritage of home cooking and our passion for food. Thus, we are always delighted to receive feedback from our customers on their positive experiences. And we have also tweaked a couple of our recipes to ensure we give our customers what they want. In addition, when we won the 2020 Great Taste Awards, we were so glad because for us, this was an indication of what folks should expect when they try any of our products.
And what are some of your best sellers at the moment?
Our best sellers are our spicy sauces – yellow chili ketchup, green jalapeno sauce, hot Pili Pili sauce, savoury curry sauce and our spiced barbecue sauce. We think they are popular because the feedback we have received is that people find them fresh, very tasty and they can cook up easy and quick recipes with them.
In addition to spices, you also offer culinary and dressing boxes?
The idea behind our boxes was to guide the customer on how to use them. Most of our customers either cook, grill or dip. So the culinary box, for example, can help the customer in cooking up different recipes while the dressing box will go well with salads.
Which product is your favourite at the moment?
My favourite? This is such a difficult question because it depends on what I am eating. For example, if we are making rice, our favourite is the hot Pili Pili sauce, for a salad, it would be the green jalapeno sauce and there is nothing like chicken dusted with the Nigerian Suya spice. Furthermore, I am very keen on the taste and flavour of my food because it creates a mood and leaves an experience.
What kind of dishes can your customers create with your dips, sauces and other condiments?
You can pair our sauces as a dip with most everyday meals. Cooking is the interesting part. For example, our savoury curry sauce is a winner any day if you want to have a curry night, We have some recipes on our YouTube channel and we share recipes and inspirations on our social media from time to time.
Have you teamed up with any north-east companies for collaborations?
Yes, we collaborated with Sutherlands of Portsoy to create a marinated fish offering, Smoke & Soul featured one of our sauces, and JC Brown’s Biltong used our spices to make their biltong. We would love to do more.
Did you attend any Aberdeen/ Aberdeenshire fairs or markets prior to coronavirus?
Yes, we attended markets and fairs and we sure look for more opportunities to share our delicious products.
Would you say you have loyal customers?
Yes, we have more and more loyal customers. And we really appreciate everyone who has supported us in any way. Their feedback makes it worthwhile.
Where do you see your business in a few years’ time?
There is a growing yearning for healthy eating and home cooking and we think this will grow further. Thus, in a few years’ time, we look to be in the household cupboards of everyone that needs fresh and great tasting condiments. In addition, we look forward to sharing this experience on a platform where folks can buy already cooked meals using our condiments. There is a lot of work ahead of us and we are so excited. If you are looking to experience condiments made with the love of the joy of food, then try Succulento.
Visit www.succulento.co.uk for more information and to shop