Innovative chef Genevieve Knights is not sure why she picked on pate. She says jokingly, "it’s so difficult to make." Her consumers are pleased she did.

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 pate awards
Genevieve Knights, left, has a focus on high-quality, natural products


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.”

Genevieve Knights, Founder of Genevieve’s

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.

Genevieve seafood pate
The Oyster Mousse is the most awarded pate in New Zealand

How ATEED helped

Genevieve’s used The FoodBowl production facility, jointly owned by Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) and Callaghan Innovation, for seven months (September 2017 to February 2018) before moving into its new premises at Kelston. There Genevieve’s completed the final tasks, including packaging, to launch a new product range on time. "Working with The FoodBowl meant I could pre-test my processing system under their Risk Management Programme and have access to onsite customer managers and technicians to help me crunch ideas and work through issues,’’ says Knights.

"One day during a test run I had to dump 80kg of mix down the drain and I was ready to flee the building. The customer manager stopped me and suggested `let’s have a group meeting and find a way forward’.

"The FoodBowl brought in a consultant and the issue was resolved quickly. I had a unique process and we put in two extra steps to ensure the quality and emulsification (of the fat and meat) was maintained. That’s the hardest thing about pate – the emulsification."

"The FoodBowl is a great place for research and development (R&D). I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to any manufacturer looking to develop and launch a range of food or beverage products - especially those who don’t have their own kitchen space, or their own space is monopolised by other production"

ATEED has worked with Genevieve’s since 2013, helping to promote the business, provide contacts and develop its R&D. After winning the Research and Development (for the Chicken and Duck Parfait range) category at the Auckland South Business Awards, organised by ATEED, Genevieve’s received a $10,000 grant to work with The FoodBowl. 

The grant was used to develop and test the fresh dressing range. Genevieve’s also worked with Massey University on the preservation and shelf life of the pate range.

Genevieve’s joined the ATEED stand at the Auckland Food Show in 2014. ATEED also arranged for Genevieve’s to exhibit at the Fine Food Australia trade show in Sydney in 2015 and the Food and Hotel Asia trade event in 2016. "That was the chance to see what other manufacturers were doing," says Knights. "ATEED, and Massey University, have played a big hand in helping me arrive at where I’m at now."

At a glance

Genevieve’s business: Fine foods – pate and dressings manufacturer. 

Location: Headquartered in Kelston, Auckland.

Export markets: Looking to sell in Australia. 

ATEED assisted by: Helping to raise Genevieve’s profile at trade shows in New Zealand, Australia and Singapore. Introduced Genevieve’s to The FoodBowl to complete research and development and pre-commercial production trials.


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