Based in Christchurch, Jen’s Cozinha (Portuguese, pronounced [koo-zin-yha]) is simply Jen’s Kitchen. Launched by Jennifer Viegas in 2013, the company has its roots in traditional Goan cuisine, with its staple diet of fish, rice, vegetables and coconut.
What is your company background, how did you start the business?
“My family comes from Goa, India, which was a territory of Portugal from the early 1500s until early 1960s. Food and cooking have always been my passion. In early 2013, I started a small business making pickles and chutneys using family recipes. The recipes have been handed down by my mother, who lives in India, and I am proud and honoured to be using them.”
What are the current product range and variants and how do these products stand out in the market?
“I have six products in the range: Aubergine Pickle, Lemon Chutney, Mixed Vegetable Pickle, Hot & Sweet Chilli Pickle, Mango Chutney and Prawn Balchão, which is a popular Goan/Portuguese pickle. The ingredients are fresh from growers markets and the spices are high-grade, resulting in a truly delicious product. Each recipe has a different method, from preparation to sautéing and then slow cooking for hours. These are the key elements that I, as an artisan producer, have to follow. This traditional method of cooking using family recipes is what makes my products unique. I do think that maintaining my Goan cuisine heritage is important and a key point of difference. My Prawn Balchão has won a Cuisine Artisan Award in 2015, as the only one in New Zealand! The pickles are gluten, dairy and nut-free.”
Has there been any recent company news?
“My company is now an ‘approved supplier’ for FoodStuffs South Island, which is great news for us. In terms of new products, I am excited about a new product range that I am currently working on, and this will be launched in September this year.”
What are the plans for the business moving forward, is there any expansion on the horizon?
“There is always a plan to expand the business. I have a vision: to see my products, which are premium products, accessible throughout New Zealand and Australia. With the help and assistance of my in-house team, we are planning to expand overseas but in small achievable stages.”
Where are your products currently available to buy, and are you looking at or wanting to expand your availability? If so, where would you like to see the product situated?
“My products are currently available in the service deli areasJ of a few New World supermarkets in Christchurch and Queenstown as well as Ballantynes, Raeward Fresh Harewood, Fresh Choice Barrington and Merivale in Christchurch. In addition, Farro Fresh stores in Auckland and Moore Wilson’s in Wellington. We are looking to expand our product availability to more centres around the South Island and North Island.”