Gordon Ramsay’s new apprentice style show Future Food Stars aired it’s first episode last week where 12 entrepreneurs show their worth to the celebrity chef to be in with a chance of getting their food business idea funded by Ramsay.
Vincenzo Gentile of Smokin Bros wanted Ramsay to invest in his smoked salmon business, but it wasn’t meant to be as he was the first one to be let go from the show.
However, he isn’t giving up on his passion and he is still smoking salmon with his two friends and business partners from his home country of Italy.
Gentile explained why their salmon smoking process is different to any other, revealed what it was like to work with the infamous chef and spoke about why his company is committed to environmental responsibility.
Why did you want to go into the salmon smoking business?
Searching for your biggest passion can take a long time and be a frustrating and difficult process, but often our passion chooses us, or grows within us with time, like love can. I was looking for opportunities, for a purpose, for an adventure, with an open-minded mindset and smoked salmon chose me.
How did Smokin Bros come about?
At age 22 I was hungry to prove myself, while working for Daylesford organic, I realised I could produce smoked salmon for Daylesford and sent a business plan to the CEO. I soon became the first independent business within the farm. When I opened the company, I knew I had to bring people that could help me if I wanted to grow, it’s impossible to run a business alone and expect to be successful.
I needed people I could trust, people with complementary skills. Alessandro and Iacopo were my best friends, I knew I could rely on them now and forever. It felt organic to get them involved, they saw the value of the project and jumped right into it. The development of the brand is totally on Iacopo, he is the one that built the brand.
You co-founded the business with Alessandro and Iacopo, your two best friends from Italy, so what is it like to work with them?
Working with your brothers can be the best decision you can ever make. Work fills a huge chunk of our day, spending that time with people you love is a gift, if you know how to manage it well.
It is so important to nurture personal relationships with your business partners with play time, honest communication and personal support. We are each other’s first person we look for when we need help and we would do whatever we can to help each other in any way. What a beautiful gift we have built for each other.
What makes your salmon smoking business different and unique to others?
Our attention to detail and desire to constantly improve. We maintain an artisan approach within our process, and meticulously study and improve every step of production. We slice our salmon in sashimi cut style only, because we believe that is the best way to taste salmon.
We differentiate different sections of the salmon, the belly and the tail, one mild and buttery, the other lean and Smokey so that our clients can choose whichever part they would like the most. We never compromise in quality.
Smokin Bros is the first smoked salmon brand to have fully recyclable and compostable packing, so how important is environmental responsibility to you?
We are young entrepreneurs. We are the future, and we need to change the system for the better. We feel the need to be the thriving force of sustainable change in our market. We only source our salmon from sustainable, family-owned farms and we use compostable materials in our packaging. We also aim to reduce our food waste to zero, with some exciting projects in the pipeline, watch this space!
What was your experience of working on Future Food Stars like?
It was a gift being able to see how the entertainment world works. Meeting 11 wonderful human beings and passionate entrepreneurs. Pushing myself to my mental limits. A difficult but worthwhile experience for sure!
And what was it to like to work with Gordon Ramsay?
I saw the other side of the coin with Gordon off camera. I saw a man trying his best to put together the best show ever and help us shine individually and as a group. He always took the opportunity to speak well about me and I would have loved for him to invest in my brand.
Written by Lucy Roberts for Female First, who you can follow on Twitter, @Lucy_Roberts_72.
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