With a belief that everyone deserves access to tasty, affordable and nutritious alternatives to highly processed foods, the founders behind Curiously Cauli have combined their three passions - creativity, food and health - to revolutionise some of their favourite ready-to-go comfort foods made using cauliflower to make them tastier and better for you.
A unique superfood, we caught up with the dynamic duo behind Curiously Cauli to find out more.
Who are the team behind Curiously Cauli and what made you launch?
Curiously Cauli was created by myself, Bianca Luscombe, a Type 1 diabetic since age six, and my partner Farren Ray, who enjoyed a 13 year career in the AFL. With a combined interest in health, nutrition and fitness, I wanted to find healthier snack food alternatives that responded favourably to my glucose levels.
At a young age, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and living with this condition has taught my a lot about nutrition and the body. Luckily, coming from an Italian background, I was taught the craft and joy of cooking from my mum, mastering various recipes using fresh, natural ingredients.
Amongst the numerous fresh fruit and vegetables my diet, I found one that stood out from the rest - cauliflower. A humble vegetable, now considered one of the worlds healthiest foods.
By taking the step of using cauliflower to replace high starch meals, I discovered the magic of this vegetable, starting with its versatility. This inspired me to create a variety of original cauliflower based recipes from home, beginning with assorted dips and crackers, under the name ‘Curiously Cauli’.
What does a day in the life of the Curiously Cauli team look like?
Starting a business is stressful so we like to begin each day with exercise, yoga or meditation. We believe strongly in a healthy work/life balance and starting the day in a positive space. We also love a strong coffee each morning.
When we started developing our products, a typical day would consist of working on recipe formulas with food technologists and dietitians to make them comercially viable.
Now that we have market-ready products, a typical day involves speaking to our suppliers, buyers and distributors and preparing stock for news stores. In addition, we are finalising all our packaging and website design, working closely with our create/designteam.
Can you tell us about the Curiously Cauli range and what was involved in developing the range?
Curiously Cauli started from humble beginnings in my kitchen. I love to cook and create dishes inspired by family recipes, using cauliflower as the core ingredient. Apart from its versatility, I found that cauliflower didn't spike my glucose levels like other vegetables and starches. This inspired me to get more creative and use cauliflower as a replacement to high-starch snacks and meals, starting with homemade dips and crackers.
To kick off, Farren and I would head down to the market every week and get six boxes of cauliflower, 20 kilos worth. Next we would clean, cut, rice the cauliflower for the crackers and roast and puree the cauliflower for the dips. We had cauliflower coming out of our ears, I remember not allowing friends or family over because of the house reeked of cauliflower for a couple of days!
Through trial and error, we landed the perfect dip and cracker recipes - using fresh herbs and spices for the dips and a mixture of healthy seeds for the crackers. Both items were a big hit with friends and family so we took our cauliflower concept to CSIRO and RMIT and worked with food technologists to test their products, making sure they were viable for manufacturing.
The next step was to scale up and package these recipes for launch to consumers looking for something new, delicious and healthy. Our Curiously Cauli crackers and dips are the first to market, made from a fresh cauliflower base - low in fat, sugar and gluten free - using locally and Australian grown Cauliflower.
Curiously Cauli Crackers are gluten free, sugar free, nut free, vegan friendly and lower in starch carbohydrates compared to market leaders. Our cauliflower crackers are made from real ingredients, featuring fresh cauliflower which has been cooked and pureed. We then mix in flaxseed and a small amount of tapioca flour to create a wholesome base.
Curiously Cauli Dips are made from over 75% cauliflower and are gluten free, sugar free, vegan friendly and contain no artificial colours or flavourings - just real ingredients.
How do you make Cauliflower taste so good and are you able to tell us more about the nutritional benefits of Cauliflower?
Cauliflower is a blank canvas, it goes with almost any dish and takes really well to different flavour combinations. Its texture is also dense enough to make it a filling "hero" of a meal – a good substitute for meat proteins.
The marvel of cauliflower is both its versatility and health benefits. For example, it can be roasted, mashed, riced, fried, sautéed boiled, turned into pizza bases, steaks, gnocchi and so on. Cauliflower is naturally low in starch carbohydrates, which is great for diabetics as it realises energy into the blood slower, keeping you fuller for longer.
Cauliflower is also extremely high in antioxidants which help to prevent the development of cancer cells. Plus it contains more Vitamin C than an orange and is high in fibre, aiding digestion and inflammation.
What has been your greatest achievement to date?
Over the past few years of development, we have learnt so much and met so many people in the food industry. For me the biggest achievement to date is getting our products to where they are now - from seed idea to packaged product.
Certainly there have been challenges along the way but we've managed to navigate our way through them and find solutions. Driven by our passion and belief in the new Curiously Cauli product range and the positive reactions from people who have sampled our tasty creations.
If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only take three things, what would they be?
Bianca: Insulin (I am a diabetic), a good book and a casket of wine
Farren: Coffee, runners, wine