Meet The Makers: White Mausu

Could you tell us a bit about the history of White Mausu?

It's all a bit of a mish-mash really. We are just under 4 years old. We started selling at markets, kinda for the craic although I did have this quiet voice in the back of my head saying that I needed to start something more stable than the pop-ups and food adventures I kept finding myself on.

As this travelling cook, I used to pitch up with crates of different condiments to gigs and the likes. I'd been making variations of our Peanut Rāyu for a few years and people seemed to go for it. I started making jars for friends and it felt similar to the good feels I got from cooking for people. 

It felt very natural to start hustling them at the Dublin Flea Market. We had this big table of jars, no labels, no name, just a sign saying Chilli Oil/ Taberu rayu. We realized that if we got people to taste it then we made a sale!  Ah, the world of Sales...

The name came about because I wanted something personal but not immediately recognizable. My granny called me her big white mouse based on my blonde hair and pale skin. My younger brother was her little brown mouse and so on. Also, my favourite sweets growing up were these rather strange milky candies with rice paper round the outside called White Rabbits. So many items from our local supermarket in Hong Kong had random packaging and random names that had no connection to what was inside. I love the quirkiness. The look is inspired by Japanese design, although the more we move and grow the more mish mashy it gets. We've started looking at a Thai Inspired sauce and our Black Bean Rāyu has lots of Chinese flavours.

 P.S White Mausu is said like {white mouse ew}

Why is using Irish ingredients important to your company?

Ummm I did plenty of projects where we've picked up pollock from local fishermen and supported local farmers etc but unfortunately, peanuts don't grow local and neither do lots of the ingredients we are working with. I grapple with this but we are aiming to get direct to source on many of our ingredients. One of the things I love best about cooking is the relationships that appear from working directly with suppliers. So aiming to be on first name base with all our suppliers within the next few years. 

What is the biggest challenge that you face as a food producer in Ireland?

How long have you got? 

What new trends do you see that are emerging in your industry?

Yeah, a lot more chilli-based products on the market which is epic. I love chilli so I'm delighted to be seeing more. From hot sauces to nut butter. 

A move towards a lot more shop counters in cafes-a direct result of COVID. I think Instagram has changed the way that people curate/pick products for shops and delis. Obviously products have to taste good but there is also a heightened visual aspect to everything now too. 

Are there any major changes you would like to see in your industry?

A little more help in terms of a road map. I'm really keen to put an event together that brings together food producers in different categories that can all help and learn off each other. There is enough pie for everyone but a better community connection would be epic.  

We do food swaps with other businesses. I love a good old Trade. 

The people that have managed to get products to the shelf to help people with the new ideas. That's my kind of economy. 

What has running your own business taught you? 

That I'm even worse at emails/texts/calls then I thought I was. 

Who are some other Irish foodie brands you draw inspiration from?

I was thinking about which cook inspires me the most recently and realized it was my Friend Luca who runs Fumbally. I lived with him for a few years and his food although never leaves me feeling particularly light makes my heart happy. I find myself copying him a lot. Fennel smothered in Bechamel, his spaghetti, it's comforting, unfussy, and utterly delicious. 

I tend to draw inspiration from magazines, stories, design, art or film. 

But some brands I admire are Banana Melon Kitchen. I want to eat everything she makes. She sells products and has a market stall in Mahon Point ( Co.Cork) but also puts food together like she is carefully layering a painting. 

Also down in Cork, I love Miyazaki. The simplicity and energy to making such good but unpretentious food. 

And the My Goodness crowd. They make food that sings in your belly. It's so happy to be there. 

Oh, my brains, very Cork Centric today but also the Gubeeners. The Dairy, Fingal Ferguson's knives, and pigs. Clovis and her Mutonics, the whole shebang! All the kids, all the family, dreamy! 

What’s next for the company?

We are working on some more products, a straight-up chilli oil and some other surprises.

We are also looking at our choices as a company and questioning the status quo. We work a four day week Monday-Thursday and I'm excited about implementing a choice within the working year to work a few days with a charity of choice while still getting paid. 

I look up to other companies that have done things differently, set up Montessori's for the office, time for surfing or whatever floats your boat, basically a high value for work-life balance. 

Striving and Exploring how to be good, for the planet, for ourselves and for anyone who finds themselves working with us. 


Find out more about White Mausu here!

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