New (Entrepreneurial) Beginnings

Dear Reader,

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, we will  launch an importing business that Louise will run when we return to Toronto. Our dream is to bring superb Kampot peppercorns to as many North American tables as possible. More details below.

But, importantly, we have a question for you – our fellow foodies: what top two online communities/channels do you go to for inspiration about recipes and new ingredients? We’d appreciate it if you could respond to us through the WordPress site, on Facebook or by contacting one of us directly. Please also share this post widely with all of your friends and acquaintances who might be interested in Kampot Peppercorns. Thanks!

We expect to launch our online store in mid-June. We’ll keep you posted!


Pepper grows on peppercorn vines like miniature bunches of grapes. Popular around the world for its flavor-enhancing qualities, peppercorn plants are native to tropical climates like south India and southeast Asia. There are many different types of peppercorn and some of the popular names include India Malabar, India Tellicherry, Malaysian Sarawak, Indonesian Lampong and Madagascar. But of all of the different peppercorns, Kampot peppercorns are often said to be the best in the world. During the time we spent in Cambodia, we visited many Kampot Peppercorn plantations and were struck by their wonderful fragrance and taste. We blogged about it here.

We wanted to learn more about the peppercorn trade, and a good place to do that was in Goa, attending the International Spice Conference. I wrote a guest post about the conference for the Toronto Food Lab’s blog. Check it out here.

A Kampot Peppercorn plantation:


Since visiting the plantations, we’ve enjoyed Kampot Peppercorns with practically every meal, relishing how the peppercorn enriches our dishes’ flavours. The pepper is exponentially better than the regular peppercorns on the shelves of grocery stores.

Our trip has been about realizing dreams. For a number of years, we had dreamed about freeing up the time to travel together as a family. Setting up an importing enterprise is another dream of ours. It will be one of the ways for us to retain some of the time and flexibility that we freed up by taking this family trip together.

Our enterprise will import organic Cambodian Kampot black and red peppercorns to serve the North American market. We want to  enhance as many dishes on as many tables as possible. Kampot peppercorns are grown using farming techniques that are centuries old and proven to deliver the best flavour. We can trace each peppercorn back to the farm and small community from which it originated. This helps us understand how the peppercorns you buy help support Cambodian farmers. And like Champagne, Kampot peppercorns have a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) that safeguards their unique qualities. The PGI ensures that Kampot peppercorns deliver the subtle flavours and fiery heat that transform your food and linger on your palate.

Our dream is that our pepper will make your food extraordinary. And if it’s already extraordinary, our peppercorns will make it even more so.

We made our decision to import Kampot peppercorns early in our trip and we’ve already developed several aspects of the business. We’ve learned that a lot of business planning and setup is possible on the road using an (intermittent) internet connection, a basic mobile phone, an old iPad and a Bluetooth keyboard. Some of the details we’ve been able to take care of include:

  • We’ve established relationships with different peppercorn growers. Our first order of peppercorns will ship to Toronto in May.
  • We’ve developed the first iteration of our webpage, logo and branding with the help of a Washington DC-based graphic designer.
  • We’ve consulted our tax advisor and will incorporate a few days after we return to Toronto.
  • We’ve learned the regulations for importing peppercorns from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and how they apply to our business.
  • We’ve developed a social media strategy that incorporates Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn and Reddit.

Along the way we’ve had tremendous support from our friends and family. They have been of enormous help with their great ideas and enthusiasm.

As we continue to work towards a mid-June launch, we’d love to get your input on websites/online communities to help us create social media buzz prior to launch. What are your top two online communities/channels do you go to for inspiration about recipes and new ingredients?

15 thoughts on “New (Entrepreneurial) Beginnings

  1. Claus Meyer -The official website of Denmark…/claus-meyer/
    Oversæt denne side
    In the annals of culinary renaissance, the name Claus Meyer will rank as one of those visionaries who have succeeded in changing attitudes towards the raw …


  2. Food52 is a great site. : )

    Love reading your blogs!


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  3. Wish I was a foodie. Please could you also sell peppermills? The always needed “hostess gifts”.
    I’ll email you when your back – Lesley Elizabeth’s specialty foods in the US is my step-mom’s company selling premium olive oils, specialty salts. Pepper could be a good addition to piggy-back into its distribution network.


  4. So excited to hear about the business plan. A few ideas in terms of building buzz/ info channels to think about:
    – 101 Cookbooks:
    – Martha Stewart has a long list of bloggers who are in her circle that likely have strong community followings (but more likely large US audiences):
    – The ‘paleo’ food trend seems to be very popular amongst colleagues and friends – it may be worth looking at how to bring the added flavour to those that are on restricted diets…’Whole 30″ program, nomnom paleo
    – Smitten Kitchen:
    – More of a local bent -Fresh City Farms – a Toronto based company delivering ‘local’ food and recipes to peoples home:
    – Food and Drink (the LCBO) magazine, popular amongst those who go to the LCBO and like to pick-up a magazine filled with free recipes

    I will think of more ideas for when you come back. We can’t wait to see you.


  5. I was so dejected to hear that your camera and all your wonderful pictures were stolen in your last post, but was thrilled this morning to hear about your new enterprise. Emma (above post) has already cited two of my favourite food links (Martha Stewart and LCBO). The LCBO now publishes a weekly newsletter that features a recipe and an accompanying drink. Might be a little easier to get featured in that than in the Food and Drink magazine. My other favourite is Epicurious. Looking forward to connecting with you once you are settled in!


  6. I’m so excited for you! Aside from trying Kampot pepper, I’d love to develop a product with it – so will be placing an order as soon as you’re up and running. If you need any help with food industry connections, I’d be happy to help.


  7. Following the three times I have been in Cambodia, I presented friends and family with Kampot pepper. Some thought it was a strange gift, until they tasted it. Even French cooks recognise it as the best in the world. The black peppercorns are the most common, but the red inject something very special in any dish. I use a traditional mortar and pestle, rather than a pepper grinder, to grind the peppercorns. Just the scent of freshly-ground pepper is marvellous. What a wonderful undertaking!


  8. Pinterest and yummily!!!
    Started dictating my menu planning. But even more so the biggest influence on my grocery order is grocery

    Looking forward to enjoying delicious peppercorns soon!!!


  9. I like Bonnie Stern’s Newsletter and LCBO’s Food and Drink.
    Have so enjoyed following your family’s adventures and discoveries this year and recalling our own ‘year away’ in Southeast Asia with our two boys some 25 years ago. Wishing you a smooth re-entry and good luck in your new venture!


  10. Hi Nigel,

    I usually search for menu ideas and recipe inspiration through family & friends and refer to cookbooks as well as apps and on social, mostly those from celebrity chefs.

    I’d be happy and delighted to speak with you further upon your safe return home.


  11. Epicurious and recipe books.
    We have loved the pepper you sent to us but we are running out. Fragrance and taste are outstanding. Can’t wait to get more into our larder. Meanwhile safe travels


  12. I usually go to and pinterest. Eric says his go to channels are or The Food Network site. Although, I have to also give honourable mention to Alton Brown’s “Good Eats” show, which we access online.


  13. We are so impressed and inspired by your enthusiasm for your new adventure and life choice. With the dedication and passion that you and Louise bring to this emerging enterprise, we know that Kampot peppercorns will soon be in the kitchens of foodies from coast to coast. We can’t wait to place an order!

    As for food inspiration, I love the Smitten Kitchen, Ina Garten recipes, Epicurious and Pinterest.


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