We heard about the NZ Artisan Awards back in May 2021. I thought it would be a great experience to apply (this is a pattern. I love "applying" for everything because I believe that what's right will work out for me).
In the days before I applied, we had received the news from a couple other things we had "applied" for that we were not the chosen ones. And so I was feeling a bit meh. That feeling intensified when I went into the NZ Artisan Awards office to drop off the samples for our entry.
When I walked into the glass doors, all I saw was food. Every surface in their office was filled with jars and bottles and packs of food. I was equal parts jealous of the judges and scared! Our bottles were labelled with my rookie labels and tags, how would we stack up against them. I knew our products tasted great but were we good enough?
In the weeks leading up to the judging (which kept getting delayed, thank you lockdown!) we found out 957 artisan businesses like us had applied! Who knew there were so many amazing food products to try in New Zealand. I was convinced of two things. We were most likely not going to win and that I had to find a way to become one of the judges lol 🧑🏽⚖️!
And then in September, an email landed in our inbox letting us know the finalists for each category had been announced. I scrolled through the pages listlessly convinced we stood no chance. And then, tucked between the pages inside the Chilled Foods category, there was our logo (aaaaaaaaa!!!).
We were in such great company and I was honoured that Dolly Mumma reached this far. A Lady Butcher, Cathedral Cove Naturals, Cookie Dough Collective, they are all small businesses I follow and I love their work. So to be on the same shortlist as them was a big win!
A few weeks later, we received the winner notification. The email read, "With a stellar lineup of finalists, our judges had a challenging decision to make when choosing our Category Winners, Supreme Winner, and of course those finalists who were awarded a highly commended accolade. I am excited to announce that Dolly Mumma has been awarded a Highly Commended in this year's NZ Artisan Awards!" Wow, we made it. Our Coastal Curry, Tandoori Paste, Indian Everyday and Carrot Chutney were officially almost award-winning!
I really couldn't believe it but we are so grateful! For your support and for all the help we received along the way whether that's The Kitchen Project helping us get started or all the advisors I've spoken to along the way that have helped us evolve our product range.
We are stoked to have gotten so far in the largest competition of this type in New Zealand. I hope you will give our almost award-winning curry pastes a try!