A Preston Mum who set up her own marinade business from her kitchen table has been Highly Commended in the Great British Food Awards.
Karen Riley, 54, produces three varieties of her Indian-inspired Crave marinade, and entered her No Added Sugar version into the Healthy Boost section of the national competition, up against well-known brands.
Judges Kate Allinson and Kay Featherstone, food bloggers from Pinch of Nom, said of the marinade: "This zingy marinade had a fantastic blend of spices that lent itself to chicken, fish, prawns and vegetables. It was so versatile and you really don't miss the sugar."
Karen, of Powis Road, Ashton, said: "I'm really chuffed. The amount of entries to the Great British Food Awards is enormous."
The marinades were inspired by a chicken dish a neighbour made for Karen's family nearly 20 years ago. A big fan of spicy food, she experimented with the basic ingredients to produce a marinade that her and her family loved.
In 2009, Karen was working at Lancashire Constabulary Headquarters when her sister came across a flier for a new television series called Britain's Best Dish, and entered her into it.
Karen's Spicy Chicken, made using her classic marinade, saw her named as a regional finalist for the North West, and on the back of her success she made the decision to leave her job with the police and set up her own sandwich shop, called Crave in Kirkham.
She said: "After a few years at the shop, it became apparent that the demand for all dishes connected with the marinade was taking over all other dishes, and this included my outside catering events.
"I was finding it more and more difficult to juggle all three aspects of the business so I made a further decision to sell Crave in 2017 to concentrate solely on my marinades.
"In just over 12 months, we sold over 2,000 units to family and friends, and friends of friends, and we are now retail ready."
Karen produces three varieties of her marinade - classic, no added sugar, and mild. They can be used for meat, fish, Quorn and vegetables.
As well as success in the Great British Food Awards, the marinades have also been awarded Gold Stars in the 2016, 2017 and 2018 Great Taste Awards.
Currently, Karen is working alone, but hopes to expand in the future and supply supermarkets and is currently testing a dairy free variety.
The marinades are being sold in a number of small shops locally. For more information, visit: https://www.cravetoyou.co.uk/