Leeds head chef's sauce wins place on shelves of national supermarket chain

The owner and head chef at Leeds Latin restaurant, Viva Cuba is seeing continued national supermarket success after branching out into retail with Spanish condiments brand, Mojo Sauce.

Sunday, 13th June 2021, 4:45 pm
Mojo Sauce has netted supermarket support from the Co-op. Pictured: James Homer, left, with Seb McGowan.
Mojo Sauce has netted supermarket support from the Co-op. Pictured: James Homer, left, with Seb McGowan.

Mojo Red and Mojo Green, which have been on tables at the popular Kirkstall Road restaurant for over 20 years, have now been given a spot at Co-op stores this month, adding to its nationwide stock at Morrisons and Ocado.

Viva Cuba's founder Seb McGowan teamed up with his friend and business partner James Horner to develop Mojo Sauce in 2018 and during the pandemic, what was an initial 'side hustle' of the restaurant has become a full-blown £100k business, selling over 10,000 bottles a month.

Seb said: “Mojo sauces are a staple in every household in the Canary Islands. My mother-in-law in Tenerife gave me her recipe and they’ve always been so popular at the restaurant, I knew I could make them work for retail with the right partners. I could just see such a gap for Spanish flavours in that aisle.

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Mojo Red and Mojo Green, from Leeds' Viva Cuba restaurant, has been snapped by supermarket chain Co-op.

“While we’ve been forced to close the restaurant because of the pandemic, the positive has been that we’ve been able to drive the Mojo brand forward.”

James added: “We’re delighted with the expansion into new supermarkets, it’s just the start.

"We have developed a whole new range of mayos, sauces, rubs and complementary foods under the Mojo brand, which are ready to go. The ultimate goal is to become the next big sauce success story, like Peri Peri or Reggae Reggae.”

Mojo Red is described as sweet and smokywhile Mojo Green trades on its garlic and fresh herbs flavour.

Viva Cuba, famed for its Spanish inspired Cuban tapas menu, celebrates its 20th birthday this summer.

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