When it comes to a secret family curry recipe, this Mornington Peninsula mum isn’t holding her cards close to her chest. Instead Lauren Scott, mum to two-year-old Hudson and another on the way in June, and wife to Jarrod, is spreading the love. She’s tweaked her grandmother’s delicious Sri Lankan curry powder and is now making batches of Love From Edith Curry Powder and selling it at markets around the Mornington Peninsula.
We recently sat down with Lauren and had a cuppa and a chat (while the kids had a play date) about how she turned a hobby into a small business.
MLTS: Tell us a little about yourself.
Lauren: I’m 32 years old, married to Jarrod and I have a gorgeous little two-year-old named Hudson and we are expecting another one (gender is a surprise) in June. I have a shopfitter background and I work part time in retail and do the bookwork at a women’s clothing store. Oh and course, I run a little hobby business on the side making my late grandmother’s curry powder recipe, called Love From Edith.
MLTS: Tell us about your late grandmother?
Lauren: My grandparents came here to Australia from Sri Lanka in 1965 and Jo-Ma (we used to call her Jo-Ma, because her name was Joyce, her middle name is Edith) was always the most amazing cook. I remember growing up going to her house and cooking with her in the kitchen…Pan rolls, hoppers, egg rice etc. The smell of their house is something I’ll never forget. She was a hard working and loyal lady who is very very missed. She died in 2014. One thing I am very grateful for is that my grandparents changed my dad’s life by bringing him and his brother and sister to Australia.
MLTS: Sounds like she was an amazing woman, do you think you inherited her talent for making curry?
Lauren: The recipe has been in the family for years, I know it like the back of my hand. When my parents got married, money was tight so they moved in with my grandparents. While mum was living with her, Jo-Ma then taught my mum to make the recipe and she then taught me so I used to make it for all my friends. It was our go to dish when we had people over, everyone started asking if I could make it when they came over for dinner. It was an easy recipe and it fed a lot of people so I was happy to oblige!
MLTS: Delish! So, that’s what made you decide to start a business selling it?
Lauren: I remembered how Jo-Ma used to make the Sri Lankan Pan rolls and sell them to the local milk bar for some extra cash and I thought, “what a fantastic idea”. So, I just started giving it to people in a little bag and then at Christmas time I came up with the idea to jar it and put a recipe in there and give it to about 20 people for a Christmas present. It worked a treat and I started to get a lot more requests! So Jarrrod and I started talking about if it could be done. But then we had Hudson and the idea sort of got put on the back burner for a while (as most things do when you have a kid). But then when Jo-Ma died we decided to give it a proper go.
MLTS: So, you were still on maternity leave with Hudson when you started making it?
Lauren: Yep, Hudson was born in 2013 and after almost a year off I felt like I needed a hobby, I was getting a bit bored and there’s only so many times you can meet with friends for coffee and cake! I wasn’t really doing anything, apart from the usual mum stuff, so I thought about the curry again and perhaps thought I could make a little cash from it. Jarrod’s work was also a bit light on, so it was hard at times being on one wage and I really wanted to help him somehow.
MLTS: Ha ha, coffee, cake, mum stuff and worrying about wages, pretty much sums up maternity leave! What happened next?
Lauren: My sister-in-law was hosting a party introducing some of her friends who were running small local businesses and she encouraged me to make some bags of curry to sell on the night. So, I made 30 bags, along with a big batch of chicken curry and rice to serve for her guests and it was a huge success. I sold all 30 bags and the feedback I got was fantastic. She then told me about the Mermaid Sorority Market and I decided to make a few batches of it for that to see how it went. Again, a huge success. I was pretty excited.
MLTS: When did you find the time to make the batches?
Lauren: When Jarrod and I started roasting we had to use mum’s Thermomix to grind because at the time we only had a tiny coffee grinder to work with and it would take me about 45 minutes to grind one batch, which was ridiculous! So we eventually we bought a thermo (hello!) and it made life so much easier, it’s the best thing ever! Still, before each market we are both still up late getting it all done in time. I am lucky to have Jarrod’s help. If we weren’t doing it at night when Hudson went to bed, the minute he went down for his day naps I would start grinding. Sometimes we make about 170 bags which takes about 10 hours all up. It’s a lot of work.
MLTS: Do you ever try to make it while Hudson is awake?
Lauren: It’s much easier now, but when I tried to do it with him awake when he was younger it was a nightmare! He wanted to do everything. I put the bowl of roasted seeds in front of him and let him stir it and there was seeds flying everywhere, it was a disaster! It’s a lot easier now that he is a bit older and can listen to instructions (to a point). Still, it’s great that I am home some days and can work on making some during the day now.
MLTS: Some mums are worried about starting something new for fear it might encroach on their relationships, was this a worry of yours?
Lauren: Not at all because I think we both see this as a joint venture. At night Jarrod and I would bag them and seal them and put the labels on together. We make it a team effort rather than just my business, it’s ours, which I think is important. It’s actually really nice quality time we spend together when we are putting the batches all together!
MLTS: Now that bubs number 2 is on the way, how do you think you’ll juggle it all?
Lauren: I think the beauty of running your own little business is that you have the freedom to put it on hold if you need to. I’m not going to push myself, if I don’t have time to do a market, I won’t do one. I’ll put the family first and just plod along making curry whenever I get the chance. That’s my plan anyway!
MLTS: Sounds like the perfect plan! What are your goals for the future with Love From Edith?
Lauren: I’m really keen to look at other ways to branch out a bit. I like selling the bags of curry powder but what I enjoy most about the whole thing is seeing people’s faces when they eat it, watching them enjoy something that I have made. That’s the whole point of it. I want to see people enjoying Jo-Ma’s legacy. So, I really want to sell it as a meal at the market and cater for small dinner parties, it’s an easy pot to make for 30 people.
MLTS: And what would you say to other mums who are thinking of turning a hobby into a business?
Lauren: Go for it! You don’t know until you try, give it a go, if it makes you happy and it works, then why not?!
Lauren will be selling Love From Edith Curry Powder on Saturday, March 19 at the Emu Plains Market, Emu Plains Reserve, Coolart Rd, Balnarring, 9am to 2pm.