Wild Fennel Co - journey adds to spice of life

This weekend marks a milestone for Dunedin gourmet food producer Wild Fennel Co as the doors open at its first store.

Based in a Port Chalmers building, most well-known for featuring in Light Between Oceans, the store is the culmination of a long journey for Dan Pearson and his wife Jo.

Not only are they opening the store on Saturday, but Dan will be running a stall at the Port Chalmers Seafood Festival.

They are also in the finals of the gourmet category in the New Zealand Food Awards, so it has been a busy few months for the husband and wife team.

The chance discovery of a massive amount of out-of-date spices at a restaurant fine-dining chef Dan was working at turned out to be the inspiration for Wild Fennel Co.

These have become the base mixes - a spicy cajun style meat rub, a French-inspired chicken rub and a venison mix (the one in the finals of the NZ Food Awards) loosely based on a spice mix he saw Swiss chefs use in London - of his Wild Fennel Co brand.

The aim was to create flavour-based mixes developed from his knowledge of working in top kitchens around the world for about 20 years.

Word soon got out and demand increased. Gourmet food companies such as Farro wanted to use the spices in their Christmas hampers and stock them in their shops.

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