An Anglesey man who turned his obsession with barbecue sauce into a new business has won a place on the shelves at a Welsh centre of excellence.
Osian Roberts spent a decade coming up the recipe for his sauce, after he fell in love with the taste of American sauces.
Now Bodnant Welsh Food Centre is launching his Nain 10 sauces – named after Osian’s gran, who first inspired his love of cooking.
The sauce will take centre stage at Bodnant’s BBQ and Barn Dance on August 5, when the centre’s executive chef Dai Chef and his team will be serving up a wide range of al fresco treats.
Osian said: “Nain10 – pronounced Nine-Ten – is what my children call their great-grandmother Alwena Roberts. Nain is the Welsh for grandmother and 10 is simply a quirky addition that has stuck over time.
“I remember when I was boy going to the home of my Nain, who is now 76, in Amlwch and cooking alongside her, as she made delicious cakes and other things.
“We both love to cook and to eat, so I thought Nain 10 would be the ideal name for my new sauce.
“So, after weeks of getting nowhere in thinking of a name, it turned out that the answer had been staring us in the face all along,” added Osian, 34.
“I approached Bodnant about stocking Nain 10 and was delighted when they said they’d give it a try. They’ve since been very helpful.
“Getting the sauce on sale at such a prestige outlet as Bodnant has been a fantastic boost for me and I hope it’s the start of bigger things to come for my company.
“I know I can produce 400 bottles in each batch and eventually, if things keep going well, I definitely aim to take on some staff.
“I don’t know how many that’s likely to be at the moment but I like the idea of creating jobs, which I see as an investment in the future.”
Bodnant Welsh Food Centre managing director Chris Morton said: “We are always looking for unusual and new food and drink from Welsh producers to add to our wide range of products.
“The sauce from Osian is obviously made with care and commitment by somebody who has put a lot of time in developing a high quality sauce.
“We pride ourselves on promoting the very best of Welsh food and drink – our range includes items from 100 producers in Wales, and we are always ready to welcome more to our shelves.
“We know that our customers are looking for high quality ingredients that are both inspiring to cooks, and extremely tasty.”
Osian lives with his 33-year-old wife Kelly and their two daughters, Cadi, six, and three-year-old Nel in Moelfre, but his professional background couldn’t be more different from food.
After graduating in geography from the University of Central Lancashire he started out on a career in local government and his current day job is as a project manager for Anglesey County Council working on a major energy scheme.
But for the past dozen years or more he’s been spending a good deal of his spare time experimenting with various ingredients and flavours to produce the recipe which eventually ended up as Nain 10 only a month or so ago.
He recalled: “This passion to produce the perfect barbecue sauce, which some say has been an obsession, all started for me back in 2002 when my wife Kelly and I went to stay in Florida where she has some family.
“They have some fantastic barbecues over there – not the burnt sausages and undercooked burgers you usually see in Britain but lovely feasts with slow-cooked meats, nicely spread with some very interesting and flavoursome sauces.
“Once I was back home in Anglesey I tried to recreate that kind of sauce and spent years experimenting with different recipes to get it just right.
“My quest to find the recipe I was eventually satisfied with only came to an end quite recently – but I’m not going to reveal exactly what’s in it because it took me too long to find and I don’t want anyone copying it!
“All I will say is that its flavour is sweet and smoky with a hint of spices.”
Once Osian had his eureka moment with the recipe for Nain 10, he decided he must share it with a wider audience than family and friends with whom it went down a treat.
So he turned to a local enterprise agency who gave him some help with development costs and advice on product testing and branding.
Osian, with help from Kelly, now bottles the new sauce in batches of 200 at a professional kitchen not far away from his home.
Bodnant’s dairy also makes ice-creams that are sold in the centre’s tearooms, Hayloft restaurant and the farm shop, along with butter that is still patted and shaped by hand, and sold wrapped in greaseproof paper.
Bodnant was named Welsh Retailer of the Year in the prestigious Farm Shop and Deli Awards – dubbed the industry’s Oscars.
Based in a lovingly restored building dating from the 18th century, the food centre employs more than 80 people. It received a fanfare opening by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall in 2012 and last year welcomed 243,000 visitors from around the globe.
More details at www.bodnant-welshfood.co.uk or call 01492 651100