Angelique and Stephen are the Waikato based couple behind the Wild Country and 362 Grillhouse range of sauces and condiments.
The couple entered into the wonderful world of condiments in the late 1990s when Angelique purchased the Wild Country brand which at the time was repacking oils and vinegars into decorative glass bottles intended to be used as kitchen decor. However, shortly after taking over the business trends were moving away from cluttered counter tops and Angelique, who has always been a foodie and avid cook, decided that they were going to move the business in the direction of hand-made, small batch condiments.
After marrying Stephen, the couple decided they wanted to raise their children out of the hustle and bustle of Auckland and closer to where Stephen grew up, so they bought a farm just North of Hamilton in Te Kowhai and built a commercial kitchen on the property - which has perhaps the best views of any commercial kitchen you've seen.
This also gave the business close access to locally grown produce. The Waikato is a strong agricultural community where fruits and vegetables are plentiful. Quinces and figs are harvested by the Wild Country team on their own property, the onions from nearby Pukekohe, blueberries from a little South of them in Te Awamutu, and tamarillos from just over the Kaimais, in Katikati. It was here in the Waikato that the Wild Country range really started finding it's stride.
Angelique has a Dutch / Lebanese heritage and grew up in a family who were commercial chocolate makers and all-around food lovers. She is also now one of New Zealand's top BBQ competition judges and is in charge of recipe development and production while Stephen manages logistics, operations and compliance.
Angelique firmly believes that "Every ham sandwich needs mustard, cheese needs chutney and burgers need sauce".
The couple who share a love for travel and enjoying different food from around the world are constantly researching, trailing and improving their product line. They typically have about 70 different sauces and chutneys ranged in a year, keeping the old time favorites, such as the Onion Balsamic Marmalata, which has been a number one seller for almost 20 years, and swapping out the passing trends to make room for fresh flavors. Travels to the USA bought about the 362 Grillhouse range.
As well as supplying over 200 specialty food stores in New Zealand Wild Country make customized sauces for a number of high end restaurants as well as Wendy's Burger chain and Best Ugly Bagels. They also pack under private label brands such as the iconic Hamilton Gardens condiment range where harvest produced in the iconic community themed gardens are turned into delicious gifts which can be purchased at the Hamilton Gardens store.