One lucky north-east business has been named Society’s One to Watch after impressing a panel of judges to win an amazing prize package.
Singularity Sauce Company came out on top following a pitch to the judges in the boardroom at Society’s Marischal Square office.
Three finalists went head-to-head to win the title and prize including Aberdeen-based eatery Avo and The Wee Hemp Spirits. However, it was Singularity Sauce Company’s owner Mark McAulay who sealed the deal to win the competition.
Mark has now secured himself and his hot sauces a stand at Aberdeenshire’s largest food and drink festival Taste of Grampian, which takes place on Saturday June 1, exposing his business to more than 14,000 people.
Speaking of his win, Marc said: “I feel absolutely amazing. I saw who I was up against and I can’t believe I won. I’m speechless.
“Taste of Grampian is an excellent platform and is the right audience at the right time. I can’t think of a better step up. Getting the chance to showcase my products to so many people and speak to them about my hot sauces will be brilliant.”
Mark will also receive a cash prize of £500 and a goody bag from main sponsor Scotch Beef of Quality Meat Scotland, two days working with an Elevator and Business Gateway business expert and access to its sales strategy and marketing masterclass, and a Society advertising package worth £500.
Mark will also attend and showcase his products at the Taste of Grampian sponsors’ dinner on Friday May 31, joining MasterChef celebrities John Torode and Spencer Matthews, who is best known for reality TV show Made In Chelsea.
He added: “Meeting John and Spencer will also be pretty incredible. I know John likes spice, but I’m not sure if he’s ready for the super heat I’ll be bringing.
“The Quality Meat Scotland cash prize and the mentoring from Elevator will be hugely beneficial to my business and to get access to that expertise is amazing.”
Singularity Sauce Company stood out and impressed the judges, which included Society editor Samantha Leckie and content editor Julia Bryce, Quality Meat Scotland’s director of marketing and communications Carol McLaren, Elevator’s operations manager Roz Taylor, and Taste of Grampian chairman John Gregor.
Joining the line-up of around 200 food and drink vendors, the sauce producer will bring a hot and spicy offering to the one-day event.
Editor Samantha said the high standard of entries made the judging process a tough one.
She said: “It was fantastic to hear all about three new, exciting north-east businesses – all of which were very impressive. I’m delighted Society is able to give Singularity Sauce Company the opportunity to showcase its products at the wonderful event that is Taste of Grampian. I’ll be sure to stop by the stand for some ‘Het Sass’.”
A title sponsor of the festival, Scotch Beef, a part of Quality Meat Scotland, has been heavily involved in Taste of Grampian over the years. Mark impressed judge Carol who said it was his unique ideas that made him stand out.
She said: “What stood out during the Singularity Sauce pitch was Mark’s energy and commitment to growing his brand. He is positively bursting with ideas for taking his brand forward and already seeing the benefits of working with other quality, local food and drink producers. We look forward to seeing his business continue to grow and flourish.”
Highlighting innovative opportunities, Roz said it was his drive and ambition that won her over.
She said: “Judging the One To Watch competition was an exciting and challenging experience. All finalists showed flair and passion for their products, but our winner stood out with their ambitions for future development and demonstrating how Taste of Grampian will play a major role in helping launch the business into new markets.”
And festival chairman John was as equally impressed, saying the firm was the perfect fit.
He said: “The standard of entries in the award’s first year were very high which made the process rewarding for all the judges. While the business types involved were diverse, all the entrants shared an impressive level of energy and enthusiasm.
“The ethos of each business was very much in line with what Taste of Grampian is all about – showcasing and celebrating the best of local food and drink – and our best wishes for future success go to all the entrants.”
Two other finalists in Society’s One To Watch – The Wee Hemp Spirits and Avo – will be further supported at the festival and will also receive stand space.
Taste of Grampian will highlight the outstanding produce the region and Scotland has to offer, not to mention live music, street performers, a motor show, children’s entertainment, arts and crafts, cookery competitions and demonstrations, making it a brilliant day out for all the family.
A range of demonstrations will also take place including gin and wine tastings, celebrity chef demos and more.