Each newsletter we will be interviewing a independent producer who is smashing life. This week we talk to Glyn and Pat, the founders of Eaten Alive.
Pat, what is fermentation and why is it good for us?
Fermentation is broadly the use of microbes to change foods stuffs or their properties. We focus on lacto-fermentation, using lactic acid forming bacteria (LABs) to acidify and preserve vegetables. These LABs exist in our gut already, as we never pasturize our products the LABs live on and can be transferred to our stomachs helping our digestive systems.
Great name, who is the genius behind that?
Glyn thought of it!
How did you two meet? Was it love at first sight, did you always plan to start a business together or was it something that evolved naturally?
We met in 2011, working in a super quirky kitchen, down a back ally in St. Pauls, we stayed in touch and began cooking up a plan in late 2015.
Am I right in thinking that you originally had plans for a restaurant? When did you guys think, actually, we are going to concentrate on producing raw fermented foods?
Well the restaurant was going to focused on all kinds of fermentation, from cheese and butter, through charcuterie to vegetables etc. We thought that starting with a little brand would be a great way to get a toe in the door and drum up some interesting the project — Can of worms (or microbes) par excellence. Three years later here we are, but we’d love to do the restaurant some time.
How many people are in your fermented family?
There are 5 full time staff including us.
Run me through what a typical day at Eaten Alive looks like?
Cabbages arrive very early, we all help out to get them loaded and booked in, then we get prepping - actually there are a few processes so we split different jobs to different days, one day cabbage, one day hot sauce, one day packing etc.
Have you seen a rise in the number of people wanting to try fermented foods?
Yes! Everyone was saying 'kim-what’ when we started, now its great, people are really tuning into the exciting flavours and the benefits.
If someone wanted to start fermenting at home, how crucial is it to be specific with your ratios, if someone added more salt than intended say, is that ok or would it fuck the process? Obviously asking for a friend…
More salt would be fine, to little and spoilage bacteria, or worse still pathogenic ones could thrive. Generally 2%+ is a good start, and if is smells or looks bad - Ditch it!
Glyn, what is your most memorable business achievement to date?
Certainly one of the proudest was winning Best New Product 2019 at Natural and Organic Products Europe a few weeks ago for our smoked sriracha.
Weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Giant tadpole soup in Laos
Guilty food pleasure?
Sherbert dip dabs
Who is your biggest food inspiration?
So many inspiring chefs and food writers spring to mind but in truth I’d have to say my mother - not only is she a great cook but she’s so well organised, just tirelessly gets shit done. Dad if you’re reading this, you’re also a powerhouse of hospitality!
If you each had to choose one product that you make, which would be your favourite?
Pat: CLASSIC. SPICY. KIMCHI.
Glyn: Really tough call between the smoked sriracha and the chocolate bbq hot sauces. Don’t make me choose.
Most importantly, where can people get their hands on your kimchi, kraut and hot sauces?
Words by Sophie Godwin