Our Business wins Funding for new Product Launch
How it was reported by the media:
A Sheffield-based company which has created a modern version of the traditional Russian pie has received a £25,000 equity investment from UK Steel Enterprise (UKSE) to support expansion into new markets.
The Russian Food Company was founded in April 2017 by entrepreneurs Leeza Murina and Steve Jones after spotting a gap in the market.
It has created ‘Bunza’, a cross between an artisan pie and a gourmet sandwich and a modern twist on the traditional Russian pie.
The Russian Food Company was one of eight companies to pitch as part of the final of the Y-Accelerator event.
Co-founder Leeza Murina said: “Following our initial success at independent farmers markets across the UK, the £25,000 equity investment will help us to expand our reach and deliver to smaller retail outlets such as farm shops, independent restaurants, cafes and delicatessens; growing our customer base with the view to eventually working with larger retailers too. With this in mind, we have already had a great response from Ocado, Selfridges Food Hall and Virgin Rail, to name a few.”
The UK Steel Enterprise Y-Accelerator initiative is a collaboration between private and public sector organisations including Rotherham Investment and Development Office (RiDO), Sheffield City Region Growth Hub, UK Steel Enterprise, Sheffield Hallam University, University of Sheffield and a number of private firms.
Alan Stanley, regional executive of UK Steel Enterprise, added: “The Y-Accelerator is a unique initiative that brings together various forms of support to create an intensive incubator for entrepreneurs with start-up ideas.
“The process was designed to help validate ideas, develop strong business models and provide people with the tools and skills to launch new businesses, and The Russian Food Company really demonstrated existing capacity for growth and expansion.”
Other Links to the Story
Leeza of Cossack Cuisine – has won her 2nd Champion Pie of the Year award for her Lamb pie at this years British Pie awards. The judges gave her 1st prize for the Lamb and Lingonberry Bunza (pie).
The judges comments included that “There was nothing that could be improved to make it better”. With only a small number of pie categories that we could enter and over 950 pies taking part in this years competition – it is very hard to win a Class Champion award.
Leeza has now won 2 consecutive Class Champions – winning it last year for her Chicken, Cranberry and Walnut pie. She also won another 3 medals for her Beef and Onion Bunza, Goats Cheese Bunza and Roasted Vegetable Bunza. All three of these pies are best sellers at Bakewell farmers market. It shows that the visitors to this event know a great pie when they taste it !
Let me add that the lamb was bought from a farmers market trader – ‘Cheshire Lamb and Mutton’ – thank you Georgina for such delicious lamb !
PS. We have now won 19 British Pie Awards in the last three years. Covering every grade from Champion, Highly Commended, Gold, Silver and Bronze.
I am a believer in “synchronicity”. What’s that you may well ask. Well it’s been described as “… a concept, which holds that certain of life’s events are “meaningful coincidences” if they occur with no causal relationship yet seem to be meaningfully related”.
Well we had a synchronistic moment when a stranger approached our Russian food stall at St. Albans. His name we now know is – Stephen Harvard Davis –
– a Business Consultant that specialises in team transition and who also writes novels as Stephen Davis. More on Stephen at Facebook.
Here is what we learned from him – and summarised in his Facebook post:
It’s a small world.
In St Albans farmers market today I met Elizaveta Murina. Her family had a shop in Nevsky Prospect and ran the baker’s shop in St Petersburg, before the revolution, and mentioned in my novel ‘The Tsar’s Banker’.
She’s still baking and keeping the family tradition alive after 200 years under the name Cossackcuisine.com.
I must add her cakes are delicious.
– Go see for yourself here. And it was also just a few weeks ago we chose to make reference to Cossack Cuisine’s St. Petersburg heritage by adopting the strap-line for our business – “Cossack Cuisine. 200 years in the baking”. And now we find that Leeza’s 19th century family business has been immortalised in Stephen’s book – by an amazing coincidence (synchronicity – at work, I do say !)
By the way the book has great reviews – go see what people have said on Amazon here
Recently Steve pitched – live on stage – to Sodexo. One of the world’s biggest food service businesses. It was an event held at an Enterprise Nation event in London.
He got a great response from the two buyers, and looks forward to meeting them again at their HQ early this year.
There’s plenty of information circulating about why we shouldn’t eat meat. Here are some reasons why we should – see here. Both of our daughters are vegetarian and that’s fine. They have made their choices based on sound reasons. But the meat eater part of the population need also to have a voice and share why eating meat is also good for your health and well-being. Here’s a couple more articles that present a balance to the “we all should eat plants” argument.
There’s been something of a hysterical outcry over salt in food. There are BOTH pros and cons. Let’s give the pro’s some airing ! Though in our baking we use just the right amount of salt to give our food such a good taste.
From 2018, we will be rolling out our card payment readers to many of the events we regularly attend.
It’s a state of the art payment reader that can accept all debit & credit cards It connects via Bluetooth. It is compatible with iOS / Android smartphones and tablets – and it does contactless.
We look forward to serving you with another way to pay for your delicious Russian food.
See how it works here:
Quickie – we have heard that Sheffield EHO have awarded us a 5 star Food Safety rating (again) in our new premises.
Very pleasing !
What an achievement for Leeza who excelled at this year’s British Pie Awards (2017) not only beating her tally of 6 awards last year but winning her first Class Champion and Gold awards. The full list of winning pies is below.
Her pasty – and Class Champion, with a filling of Chicken, Cranberry and Walnut was a great favourite last Christmas with our customers but who would have believed that when it came to the nominations for “Best Pasty of the Year” – with Ginster’s Cornish Pasty being our world famous rival nominee that we would come first ! I didn’t expect that when I heard who we were up against. But there you go 🙂
Watch out for these at our future events.
- Creamy Chicken with Cranberry & Walnut Pasty – Class Champion
- Chicken, Sweet Potato, Squash, Moroccan Grains of Paradise Pie – Gold
- Creamy Chicken with Cranberry & Walnuts Pie ( a Silver and a Bronze) from different categories
- Salt Beef, Mustard and Gherkin Pie – Silver
- Triple Cheese Pie – Silver
- Lamb, Quince & Pistachio Pie – Bronze
- Nutty Gruyere & Olive Pie – Bronze
- Cream Cheese & Apricot Pie – Bronze
There’s much change going on here. We are presently in stealth mode. We are now in our new factory. We have pitched ** successfully ** to 4 big brand names. Two national grocery chains, a national train company & one of the worlds largest foodservice businesses. All wheels are turning, slowly but positively ! We get to see the new branding and packaging work early 2018 for our Bunza.
What’s a Bunza? You will have to wait… Keep your eye peeled on this page here
Russian food and drink is not that familiar to the people of England – many have sipped vodka, some have tasted Borscht, a wonderfully vibrant beetroot soup – and some have had Stroganoff (a Russian classic). However very few people will have had Stroganoff served the way the local Russian’s do. Chefs in the West have decided that they like to make mushrooms a key ingredient. No, no, no. Mushrooms are not part of the real Russian Stroganoff. Ours is made with onions (instead of mushrooms). We do a popular version which is has loads of chicken, in a fresh cream sauce lightly spiced with a traditional Russian blend of spices and herbs used for generations of Russian’s when making Stroganoff. Come sample ours. It sells out very quickly every market. See you bright and early. Only available at Treacle Market, Bakewell Market and sometimes at Moseley Farmers Market.
We create from scratch our Russian Beetroot and Garden Pea salad – see it here. It also has fresh garlic and basil added to make it taste authentically Russian. We always seek the most healthy ingredients for our food. And basil fits the bill.
Basil also is considered one of the healthiest herbs. It’s best when fresh, exuding a sweet, earthy aroma that indicates not only the promise of pleasantly pungent flavor, but an impressive list of nutrients. Vitamin K, essential for blood clotting, is one of them. Just two tablespoons of basil provides 29 percent of the daily recommended value. Follow the link above for more information.
Not specifically related to our food but as an Englisman and having met and listened to Russians objectively speak in a dispassionate way about how their country could be perceived – then I find this article speaks the truth – well sort of ! 🙂
But most of all know something of how the Russian will not let you leave their home without being , let’s say, “well fed” and “well watered” !
“….when you sit down for dinner with them, they’ll feed you until your stomach explodes and pour you shot after shot of vodka until your liver explodes too.”
I can vouch for that !
Not a joke. We have a pie in development that will please vodka lovers. Russian-born or not !
This year will extend the number of markets and food festivals we attend – though we will be dropping out of some of the less busy events. Please bookmark our events page and watch out for the new-to-us events we are attending in your region over 2017. Here is the link you need here.
We have a new range of Piroshki (Russian Pies) rolling out over the first few months of this year. Look out for Chicken Stroganoff piroshki (based on our popular Chicken Stroganoff stew), plus Minced Beef and Onion, Chicken and Cranberry (which sold very well just before Christmas last year) plus several other new varieties.
* I am afraid there are a few issues which have been causing us a great deal of extra administration recently. I hope that the information given below will help you to better understand the terms and conditions when booking events at the xxxx
* Please do not reply to this e mail as it has been sent out to all stallholders for information only.
We are experiencing an unacceptable amount of queries asking us to let stallholders know what they have booked with the xxxxx this year? With well over 500 stallholders and over fifty events each year you can imagine how much extra administrative work is involved in researching and responding to these queries.
* It is essential that all stallholders take the responsibility for keeping a record of events booked with us throughout the year.
Cancellations are being taken far too lightly.
Too many casual cancellations are being made. A booking is a firm commitment, not something that can be change on a whim.
* Increasingly, stallholders are waiting until we contact them about an upcoming event that they have booked with us before letting us know that they wish to cancel the event. If you have to cancel an event please let us know as soon as possible. Your booking remains on our database until you instruct us otherwise. We have a very long waiting lists for some events which makes it all the more important that we know when you are not able to attend an event that you have made a booking for.
> I am losing the will to contine appraising this message – the following is like – why? Why can’t the author just accept that they have let off enough steam about how frustrating their customers are to them. But, well, they have to continue.
* The Terms & Conditions clearly state that payments are non-refundable. As most of you know, we do try to accommodate by moving a payment to a future event. However, this is not an invitation to change bookings at will. We would like to make clear the criteria we use when cancellations occur.
* If we have been given what we consider to be a one off reason for cancellation that could not have been avoided, then we will move the payment made for that event to a future event of your choice.
* No payments can be moved more than once, and only one cancellation a year would qualify to be moved. Your booking is a firm commitment to attend.
* Post dated payments made in advance are also considered to be a firm booking. It is not acceptable to ask for these payments to be returned or destroyed. It would not be fair to those stallholders paying well in advance if post dated payments were given preferential treatment.
> It seems that the organisation needs to overhaul their own terms and conditions. Now that requires an initiative. After all the years of trading I have never been on the end of such an outpouring of disatisfaction from the main person who facilitates an event to happen. The author should take stock of the situation, according to their perspective, and re-define the rules, offer the support that traders want but that irritates the author, and genuinely ask how can their organisation help you support you so our organisation thrives. We didn’t hear that at all in this message. Perhaps an appropriate change by this organisation is needed.