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Natasha Lee

What inspired you to create Wild Child Kitchen?

The idea itself was something that came together over a few months—I had become increasingly interested in the growing wellness space but couldn’t understand why so much of our attention was focused on fixing problems retrospectively, rather than increasing efforts to instil healthy habits in childhood.

I’ve always been a big foodie—I love to cook and was often being asked by friends to help with family meals or tricky toddler recipes. Looking around at what was available to help busy families, I realised there was a huge gap in the market for a children’s food brand that delivered great tasting meals, responsibly sourced ingredients and convenience all in one.

How did you get started—what were the first steps?

Lots of research of looking at product lines and the ethos of companies currently serving this part of the market. In addition, I spoke with lots of parents, teachers and nannies to get a better understanding of what they were struggling with at mealtimes and what solutions they were currently using. I headed to the supermarket to buy examples from each of the brands stocked across fresh and frozen aisles, and then taste-tested them all… unfortunately much of it went straight in the bin!

I also went to a few trade shows to speak with brands to get a feeling for how the market might evolve in the coming years. I got business admin started quite quickly too; registering the business, trademarking etc.

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What has been the most challenging aspect of running a start-up, and what the most satisfying?

I think running a start-up as a sole founder is tough; even with a great team around you, it can feel like quite a lonely journey at times. The responsibility you feel can be all-consuming. It is important to take care of yourself and to have a good support network.

However, the flipside is being able to see the manifestation of all your hard work and taking pride in that! With every meal that goes out of our kitchen, I know just how much care has been taken to create the recipe, source the ingredients, cook and deliver it. When I hear from a happy customer, that makes it all the more special.

What excites you most about your work?

Without a doubt, being able to see the real impact of our work. Every time I receive an email from a mum about how our service is making her life easier, or when I go to a parents’ evening and hear that the children are much more adventurous with their food choices because of our menus, it makes me so happy! I am excited for what’s yet to come—life as a start-up is very dynamic and I hope we can continue to be a catalyst for positive change in children’s food.

What sets Wild Child Kitchen apart from other food delivery businesses or children’s food brands?

We are committed to sourcing responsibly, locally and organically wherever possible. With each dish we put on our menu we hope to inspire a love of delicious, healthy food and encourage curiosity at every stage of taste development. For too long now, there has been this awful preconception that children’s food doesn’t need to taste good. That needs to change! You won’t find any brightly coloured wrapping or cartoons on our packaging—this is deliberate. We want children to connect with their food and pay attention to what they are eating.

Our relationship with our customers is built on transparency and trust—we believe in empowering parents to ask the right questions about how and what they feed their families. As a brand this means being accountable for the product you deliver and your actions every step of the way; being conscious not only of the meal itself, but how it got there and how choices we make as a company impact the world around us. We are plastic-free and have worked hard to ensure that every bit of our packaging is plant-based.

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How would you describe WCK’s purpose, the aim of your products, in five words?

Delicious, nutritious, sustainable children’s food.

What is the development process at WCK; how do you decide what recipes and flavours to choose for your menu options? How often do you add new dishes to the menu?

We are guided by the seasons, picking themes for the months ahead such as ‘hydration’ in summer or ‘immunity’ in the depths of winter. This, along with our focus on local and organic sourcing, will help us pull together a list of ingredients to build our menus around—we have great relationships with our suppliers and will often speak to them about produce they are excited about. We will also check if there are issues we should be conscious of, such as concerns around overfishing of a particular species.

In addition to this, our little foodies help us to decide on menus! Talking to them, along with their parents, teachers and nannies provides us with lots of insight and inspiration for new dishes and snacks. This dialogue also encourages us to continuously evaluate our existing menus to see if we can improve our dishes.

What’s your favourite current or upcoming WCK menu offering?

It’s hard to beat our Lamb & Sultana Meatballs with Quinoa—I absolutely love the balance of flavours and it is a huge hit with both parents and little ones. I also love our veggie dhal—it’s consistently one of our best sellers and a great dish for introducing mild spices.

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What are your favourite places to eat, drink and be entertained in west London?

Hoppers on St. Christopher’s Place for a spicy Sri Lankan feast, Launceston Place in Kensington for a date night with my hubby and The Thomas Cubitt in Belgravia for the best pub lunch.

What would your ideal day out in London look like?

An early yoga class at South Kensington Club followed by breakfast on the terrace. Then a spot of shopping on the King’s Road and a quick treatment at Facegym. Lunch with friends on Pavillion Road, then a stroll around Battersea Park with my dog Goji. An evening concert at Cadogan Hall before dinner at Kiln, Soho, and drinks and dancing into the early hours at Hertford Street.

Favourite place in the world?

The South of France—enjoying great food and wine with a big table of friends.

What else do you enjoy outside work?

Long walks with Goji, yoga and, of course, eating my way around the world!

What’s next for Wild Child Kitchen?

We have some very exciting plans in the works—I want to make Wild Child Kitchen accessible to more families, so that is the focus for the next 12 months.

www.wildchildkitchen.co.uk

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