Jennie Merilion – Guanchita’s Chilli Mojo Sauce

Jennie Merilion dreams of popping into Waitrose and seeing Guanchita’s Chilli Mojo sauce on the shelves. This is not just any chilli sauce, it is made in Cornwall from home grown chillies using a 200-year-old recipe handed down from Jennie’s Canarian great grandmother who lived in a cave in the Canary Islands.

Fast forward to 2017 and Jennie is a working Mum carrying on her great grandmother’s legacy from her kitchen with big dreams to share Guanchita’s with the nation.

What started as a seed of an idea has turned into reality, thanks to Jennie getting help from the Spark business start-up programme which helps people bring their ideas to life.

The name derives from the ‘Guanches’, the first settlers who came to the Canary Islands from Morocco; they lived in caves which were later inhabited by Jennie’s great grandmother who developed the sauce by grinding spices in a huge pestle and mortar that is now in a museum. Also born in the Islands, Jennie is passionate about carrying on the tradition of making the rustic, authentic sauce here in Cornwall and seeing it on supermarket shelves.

Jennie is passionate about the sauce and can talk about it until the cows come home, but had no idea how to turn her idea into reality when she heard about the Spark programme from the Job Centre and went to an information session.

“I’ve had the idea of selling the sauce for years but never did anything about it. It is only now by going through the Spark programme that I feel the time is right,”

Jennie Merilion

It was the business skills that Jennie lacked confidence in and the thing she likes most about Spark is the friendly and approachable attitude of everyone involved. “They made me feel so comfortable and helped me understand things and they were there, hands-on helping me and now I feel much more confident,” Jennie adds.

Spark gave Jennie the confidence to approach Waitrose and she has already taken a sample to the local store and received a positive response. The next step in her journey is to get the product fully tested and analysed so the nutritional content can be put on the labels, this is a critical process to enable the product to be sold in stores.

Jennie is a Mum of 3 who teaches Spanish to children and runs a running club, as running is her other passion, but conversation quickly returns to the sauce. The sauce comes in a variety of heat levels and can be used for marinating, barbecuing, seasoning or as a table sauce and is good on chips. It is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

The Spark Programme has really helped Jennie focus and all her energy is now going into getting her sauce on supermarket shelves. 

“I’m finding it very exciting, I’ve waited so long I just feel like shouting ‘here I am’ and I’m just going to go for it,”

Jennie Merilion

Jennie has big plans, as well as launching in supermarkets she has sent the sauce to some local celebrity chefs and already has some glowing feedback from Nathan Outlaw. She plans to publish recipe ideas on Facebook and longer term diversify into snacks and other Guanchita’s products.

Now Spark has got Jennie going there’s no stopping her, proof that Spark really can make all the difference and make ideas come to life then nurture them into big ambitions.

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