Introducing: Jennifer Williams from naked jam
Two years ago Jennifer Williams had the vision to create a range of jams with a modern twist. Since setting up her business, naked jam, it has been a whirlwind of awards and collaborations.
Jen's hard work was recognised at the recent Brilliance in Business Awards 2013/14 organised by the New Forest Business Partnership. She was presented the ExxonMobil Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the New Forest National Park Authority Sustainable Business Award and the NFBP Business of the Year. Never before has one business been presented three awards.
What was your initial vision for the business?
I wanted to work with the seasons and local British produce to create traditional jam, jelly and marmalade recipes with a modern twist. I knew I wanted to supply unique establishments alongside boutique hotels and to customers who appreciate the taste.
Where do you get ideas for your unique flavour combinations and products?
A lot comes from how my mother used to cook and how she put together flavours and taste combinations. She has inspired me and has given me the confidence to make new combinations. I also get inspiration from walking around the garden and seeing things that would work well in new recipes.
Have you passed your love of cooking on to your own children?
My son really enjoys working out what he has eaten in a restaurant and then going home and recreating the dish, he's very good at it! My daughter loves cooking and takes it all in. I hope that one day they will look back with fond memories as I do with my mum, but more importantly I hope that when I visit then they can cook me great tasting food!
What are your best selling products?
It all depends on the season. At the moment Tea Jelly and the Blueberry Jam which is deep in colour and rich in flavour and really captures the richness of Hampshire home-grown fruit.
What products are you offering for the festive season?
Quince Jelly which is great with cold meats or even stirred into gravy, Mulled Red Wine Jelly perfect with cheese, and Poached Pear is delicious with ice cream.
A lot of your recipes use ingredients you have foraged. How did you learn to forage?
From my mother who used to take us hedge-rowing as children and as I grew up it became an obsession. It is lovely as you can really mark the changes in the weather and the changes in the seasons by foraging. I also read and watch others, that way you never stop learning and finding out new things.
This foraging talent has led to you becoming the forager at Chewton Glen Hotel, this must haven given you inspiration for a wealth of new products?
It has opened my tastes buds to new combinations from wild fruit with kitchen garden herbs to hedgerow berries with vegetables from the garden. I work closely with the hotel's head gardener, Darren Venables and we have lots of exciting plans for the kitchen garden. It is wonderful to be working a forward thinking and inspiring hotel, where out of the ordinary is ordinary and brilliance is standard, it's great.
It's been a very busy year for you, as it comes to an end and you look back what have been the highlights and your biggest achievements?
I think my biggest has to be winning three awards at the Brilliance in Business Awards. It was a privilege to be recognised for my ethos and achievements especially as there were so many great companies nominated.
You can purchase naked jam products at retailers including Leckford Farm Shop, Lisa's Larder, Setley Ridge Farm Shop, Brown and Green and Pitfield Winchester. Jen also attends various food events across the county.