What was your favourite flavour of popcorn as a child?
Probably some plain popcorn, mixed with marshmallows, and a pack of Sunmaid raisins…I was a slightly confused child.
Once you’d decided to start PROPERCORN, how did you go about deciding which flavours you wanted to create?
I started playing around with hundreds of different flavours, constantly trying them out on my long-suffering friends and family, until we managed to whittle it down to the first four.
How did you make the first few batches?
It proved really difficult to get the impact of flavour I wanted to achieve, in a way that didn’t feel like a compromise on health. I knew I needed a way to tumble the kernels so I fashioned a cement mixer – it meant I was able to get an even spread of seasoning across every batch I made. Finding a way to make the seasoning stick to the popcorn was also a challenge. By complete coincidence, I happened to be watching Top Gear one evening, and saw how they spray paint cars using the finest mister. I ordered one online that evening, and used rapeseed oil to get the seasoning to stick.
Did you have any mishaps?
When I was using the car-spraying kit at home, I noticed a mist coming out of the back of the machine, which I mistook for steam. Needless to say, my poor mum came back to find the house covered floor to ceiling in rapeseed oil – she had to get the house repainted!
How do you go about making flavours now?
As a team, we’re constantly experimenting with new combinations of ingredients and flavours. It’s a collaborative process, where
everything goes through quite a few iterations. It’s really important that we’re sourcing the right type of ingredients, in order to get the right balance of flavour.
What has been the most difficult flavour to make and why?
That has to be Smooth Peanut & Almond, for sure. We spent endless hours in the kitchen, trying to figure out a way we could get that rich, nutty taste, without the high calories and fat. The process we developed removes 88% of the fat found in peanuts, without reducing any impact of flavour. It was a labour of love, but we got there – I’m completely addicted to it!
If you could create any flavour popcorn in the world what would it be?
Probably something using the most delicious truffle in the world I could find…sadly not really a sustainable project – one can dream!
Are you a good cook?
My family are from Cyprus, so food is very much at the heart of everything we do. The thought of someone coming over to my flat without me offering them something to eat, would be sacrilege to my grandmother.
Other than popcorn, what’s your favourite thing to make?
Jacob Kennedy, the head chef at The Bocca di Lupo, has a recipe for this amazing radish and celeriac salad – I’m obsessed!