Urban Food: MaMa V's Sauces and Seasoning
There's an infectious babble of laughter bursting out from the heart of Vivienne Downes' home - her kitchen.
The charismatic grandmother - who is more commonly known to her fellow east Londoners as MaMa V - is sharing a joke with daughter and business partner Marie Morgan-Henfrey.
And it's smiles all round as the pair tell the tale of MaMa V's Seasoning and Sauces, their one-year-old business with a passion for food and family values at its core.
While you'll find Vivienne, Marie and her sister, Helen Downes, concocting the perfect flavour combinations in the East End kitchen, Marie's brother, Marcus Morgan Valentine will be managing the office with Marie's husband, Steve, scooping the taste-testing role.
The grandchildren are also ready to lend a little helping hand with the all-important labelling.
Growing up with the waft of her aunt's culinary creations greeting her as she arrived home from school in Jamaica, Vivienne said a passion for cooking "has always been in me".
And after months spent filling the shelves of her fridge with what would turn out to be two of her trio of products - MaMa V's All Purpose Green Seasoning and MaMa V's Hot Pepper Sauce - it took a dose of dreamland to kick-start the family firm.
"When my father retired he relocated back to Jamaica, but he came here for my sister's wedding five years ago," said Vivienne, 59.
"He came downstairs and said 'I want to tell you something. I had a dream last night, you make seasoning and pepper sauce and you give it away. Don't. You need to stop giving it away and start selling it'.
"He had dreamt I had a stall and someone came to buy my products but I wasn't there and they bought it from somewhere else and it wasn't as good.
"I just saw it as a hobby and something I would do because of my husband Robert. I cook with onions but, if he sees onions in the food, it puts him off.
"I used to be grating onion with tears coming down and I thought, for goodness sake, there's got to be an easier way to do this.
"I thought, how about putting everything I use to season in a bowl and mixing it up in a bottle and put it in the fridge - so that's what I did."
The creation of MaMa V's best-selling Hot Pepper Sauce, filled to the brim with Jamaican Scotch Bonnet Pepper, came from similar origins after Guyanan Robert sampled a much-too vinegary Encona sauce.
After mother and daughter took redundancy packages from their respective jobs, the pair - both armed with experience as chefs, a secret ingredient and Marie's business studies qualifications - the MaMa V's brand was born last August.
With all bottles and jars emblazoned with MaMa V's visage, the product has been popular with the public ever since it's launch at Canning Town's Rathbone Market.
And 42-year-old Marie said the support from family, friends and customers, had been amazing.
"The first two years of the business are the riskiest and you can rise and fall, so we are doing everything slowly," she added.
"Dragon's Den is a fantastic show, but that's not us, and they want a huge amount of your business for their expertise.
"We are happy to do the tortoise approach rather than the hare approach."
With a few local stockists, a pitch at Woodgrange Market Place and a second stint at Urban Food Fortnight, the future is looking hot.
"I'm keen to keep it as a family thing," said Vivienne. "That's the way we are, and the way I was brought up and I want to make sure it remains the same.
"I want it to be handed down to the next generation and, so far, so good."
Go to facebook.com/MaMa.V.Seasoning, call 07985 217 803 or email MaMaV.Seasoning@gmail.com.