Using her own recipes, award-winning Knights has perfected the art of making pate and French Dressing. Her all-natural, chilled products are sold in nearly 140 stores throughout New Zealand, including more than 90 supermarkets. One supermarket chain is retailing her products under its own Private Label brand.
Fresh food company Genevieve’s, established in 2012, also supplies My Food Bag, accounting for a quarter of its business.
Genevieve’s presently manufactures six varieties of parfait and mousse (pate) and six fresh dressings – and there are plenty more new products in the pipeline.
GENEVIEVE’S DRUM ROLL
2018 Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards: Water Champion and Gold Medal for Mahurangi Oyster Mousse. Silver for Truffled Duck Liver Parfait and Original Chicken Liver Parfait.
2016 New Zealand Food Awards: Finalist in Gourmet. Auckland Business Awards: Finalist Emerging Business and Innovation.
2015 New Zealand Innovation Awards: Winner of Food and Beverage Section for New Zealand Innovators. New Zealand Food Awards: Finalist for Quality and Safety.
2014 New Zealand Food Awards: Finalist for Quality and Safety. Auckland Business Awards: Finalist Emerging Business and Innovation.
2013 Auckland Business Awards: Winner Research and Development for Chicken and Duck Parfait range.
2012 Cuisine Artisan Awards: Winner for Original Chicken Liver Parfait.
On a growth spurt
A former head chef, Knights says she wants to achieve one new home-branded range a year, as well as grow her own Genevieve’s products over the next five years. "We are now in a position to double our business every year, and after five years we will reassess that."
"If you are working with cutting edge innovation and quality, it makes it harder for other brands to keep up with what you are doing," says Knights. "If you can do pate, you can do anything. We have a very positive additive-free stance with our products – we don’t work with emulsifiers or preservatives – and this adds to the quality. If an issue crops up, we find a way of dealing with it without putting in artificial ingredients."
"My goal is to sell higher quality products than you get in an average restaurant. I don’t think there should be a gap between what you eat in a restaurant and what you buy in the supermarket and eat at home. With clever processing, quality ingredients and innovative packaging, we can achieve this. I’d like to have every part of the meal cornered."
Genevieve’s is launching a chilled `heat and serve’ sauce range, and two products new to the market by the end of 2018. At the same time, Genevieve’s will be doubling its staff to six at its Kelston processing facility.
I don’t think there should be a gap between what you eat in a restaurant and what you buy in the supermarket and eat at home.”
From Farmers’ markets to supermarkets
Knights, who was Head Chef at GPK restaurant in Takapuna, started selling her pate at the La Cigale French Market in Parnell in 2011. She also sold her products at the Clevedon and Hobsonville Point markets.
In 2012 Knights decided to move into food manufacturing. By then she was a freelance writer and photographer. "I wanted a day job and work on growing the business," she says.
Knights soon got her HACCP food safety qualification and worked out of the Danish House kitchen in Penrose for five years. She did in-store tastings and the Genevieve’s parfait, mousse and dressings were selling in more and more retail outlets. Genevieve’s began supplying My Food Bag in 2015 and now provides the home delivery business with 20 different dressings.
Genevieve’s is talking to Coles Supermarkets in Australia about selling her products under their own Home Brand. With an eye to developing exports, Knights has also developed a range of fresh dressings for the Asian market.
Genevieve’s retail products are: Original and Truffled Chicken Liver Parfaits; Original and Orange Duck Liver Parfaits; Original Scallop Mousse; Mahurangi Oyster Mousse (the most awarded pate in New Zealand); Classic French, Saffron & Orange, Sesame & Soy Vinaigrettes; Blue Cheese, Lime & Parmesan and Classic Caesar Dressings.
Knights also makes Duck Triple Sec, Orange Duck, Pepper Chicken and Whiskey Chicken pate for New Zealand’s leading Private Label brand.