From Dorm Room Experiment To Unilever Acquisition - Mr. Mark Ramadan
If you have ever enjoyed ketchup with your meal at a nice restaurant, there’s a good chance you’ve had Sir Kensington’s.
Now eight years in, Sir Kensington's was recently acquired by Unilever and is a full line of all-natural, non-GMO condiments that is carried in countless hip restaurants, Whole Foods and stores around the US.
It actually started as an experiment in a college dorm. Mark Ramadan, founder and CEO, along with co-founder Scott Norton, were college buddies that started making ketchup in their kitchen and holding ketchup tastings with their friends.
“We are on a mission to bring integrity and charm to ordinary and overlooked food,” said Mark. “Condiments haven't changed in 50 years, in fact they've gotten worse, so that's where we wanted to bring a degree of ingredient integrity with a healthy dose of humor.”
It took the team about three years to hit their groove, with one of the big breaks happening when the owner of The Smith, an iconic New York restaurant, believed in Sir Kensington’s. The Smith ended up even taste testing Sir Kensington’s condiments formulas as they refined their recipe.
“In the beginning when you’re small, people aren’t sure how to feel about your products. It takes time to build a brand that is loved,” says Mark.
They’ve even created their own category of product called “Fabanaise”, the first eggless mayo to be made with aquafaba (or the water used to cook chickpeas). It’s a delicious vegan mayo that takes away the guilt of eating mayo while delivering on all the taste.
Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you end up in New York?
I grew up in Southern California and went to school in the Northeast. I never spent much time in cities growing up, which is maybe why I fell in love with New York the first time I visited -- the density of it all, and the speed of life, just really fit what I wanted.
What do you do for fun?
I have a 3-year-old at home with my wife Rachel, so I spend as much time with him as I can. We go to the park, and I mostly play with toys in front of him while he watches. Classic dad things.
What are your favorite places to hang in New York?
I live in Fort Greene in Brooklyn and there are so many great places nearby. One of my favorites is Habana Outpost -- there's no better place to hang outside on a Spring or Fall day with a margarita, guacamole, and fish tacos.