Winnie's Original's Story
Hi, my name is Don and I'm the creator and founder of Winnie's Original, named after my mother.
I was 20 years old, still in university studying design when I was lucky enough to meet my grandparents for the first and sadly, last time. As a child, I never had the opportunity to travel to the Caribbean so I never really experienced the lifestyle besides what my parents had shown me living in London. Clara and Herbert were 82 and 86 at the time and lived on the side of what was essentially a small gulley (valley) in St Andrew, Jamaica. It had stone stairs curving down from the main road into their front garden and in hindsight, the garden gave me my first clue of what I was about to experience! Herbs and spices, medicinal plants, multiple vegetable patches, and fruit trees in abundance! Even breadfruit growing in trees dotted around the small property. It was just incredible walking through the garden, seeing there were so many delicious things, my mouth began to water! Oh and I forgot to say when they (Grandma and Grandad) greeted me they ran up the stairs like they were 20 years old, quite a feat in your late 80’s! My grandpa walked ahead, shouting "come in and eat" while my grandma had other ideas! With a strong grip on my arm, showed me all the different things they were growing with great enthusiasm and explained what each one was good for and what you’d eat with them! As we got to the house, grandma ushered me in through the main door, around past the front room, into the kitchen. It was a bit dark, as they had no light in the hall, so I kind of fumbled my way into the kitchen, where my grandpa was standing at the table. Ooh the table….. Heavens above..... WOW! The food and smell was out of this world! My taste buds were alight and I hadn’t eaten anything yet! Grandpa prayed, blessing the food, as was tradition being a pastor in the local church, then said “eat-up!”, he didn't have to tell me twice!
This experience in Jamaica awakened and invigorated my tastebuds. My creative senses drove me forward to travel in search of exciting, unique, exotic, and inspiring new flavours as well as enjoying cultural experiences, and in 2012, I happened upon the idea of Winnie's after making some jam from gifted damsons for work colleagues. Over the last 9 years, I've 'experimented with many ingredients (fruits, spices, herbs, you name it), combinations, and different methods. I've incorporated great feedback from food shows and festival goers, not shying away from tweaking recipes or going back to the drawing board and starting over. With all these processes, guided by my design background, I continue to maintain and honor the foundations and root of the original idea, instilling 3 main values.
Integrity – In everything we do.
Quality – In every product made and in how we conduct our business.
Creativity – To challenge the ideas of condiments and art and what can be produced.
Most importantly, at the heart of these values lies the wealth of cultural diversity aptly expressed by the Jamaican motto “Out of many, one people". This is why my mother, Winnie, was blessed with her delicious cooking talent combined with my continual learnings and experiences in the food and creative industries, I now look forward to creating a future where condiments and artistry can be one.
It's my pleasure to share this and welcome you to Winnie’s Original!