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Back to the Future

Union of Genius kitchen expansion
View from the new kitchen in to the old

It’s almost three weeks now since our Kickstarter campaign ended. We were absolutely thrilled to receive a total of £13,651 from 160 wonderful backers, whilst the love and support of soupfans was felt even further across Edinburgh and the internet.

The successful completion of our campaign ties in nicely with this month’s theme for the Year of Food and Drink: The Future of Food. With our newly acquired funds under our belt, the future can start to become the present at Union. In fact, work has already begun on our new unit next door, where special hardcore electricity points are being installed for all our blast chillers, fridges and freezers. In a month or so, all our cold storage will be in the new kitchen and only cooking and packaging will be done in what will be the old kitchen. For Union’s staff, moving around will become less like a game of Pac Man with each relocated fridge.

Our kitchen expansion will also contribute to the wider future of food in Scotland, by creating new jobs. Industry leadership body Scotland Food and Drink has set an ambitious target for the food and drink industry to be worth £16.5 billion by 2017. There are many routes to this goal (and we’re on track, don’t worry) but one significant push for growth is through building careers. It’ll require more interest in the sector from young people and more places to acquire and practice skills. Hopefully our new kitchen and the growth of our wee soup company will be able to provide such opportunities.

When I returned from holiday last week, I found a door-shaped hole in the wall between our two units. Standing in the new unit looking into the existing kitchen felt like a glimpse of the future. The kitchen buzzed with the movement of staff; chopping, cooking, cleaning. There was the hum of the fridges, the whine of the blast chillers and the familiar notes of the latest 70s playlist on Spotify.

Meanwhile, I stood silent and still in the dark, surrounded by nothing more than chipped plaster, watching silver knives, pots and paddles glint in the bustling kitchen next door. The familiar savoury scent of Caldo Verde wafted through to the new unit where I was watching. It was strange to think that in a year’s time I could be on the other side of the door looking back at where I stood now and see those levels of activity in here. A bit like time travel, really.

See you in the future, soupfans.