My name is Martin Greeff and as you may have guessed from my introduction, I'm the 'Martin' in Martinnaise. I come from a family of mayonnaise lovers, so my fate was sealed from birth. My earliest recollection of recognising my own appreciation of this condiment was when I was introduced to Jenny Post mayonnaise. Sadly this brand no longer exists, but I fondly remember sneaking to the grocery cupboard to acquire a few spoonfuls of this precious commodity stored in the little striped jar. If I couldn't find food to have it with, it was just as good neat! There the romance with mayonnaise was fused. This love for good mayonnaise duly rubbed off on my children and so the next generation was hooked before it even had a chance.
The birth of my youngest daughter in 1998 presented my wife with far more than sleep-deprivation and wet nappies when she curiously developed allergic reactions to certain ingredients in food items with culprits like soya not showing her much in the line of mercy. In essence we discovered that although most people can have soya without a problem, this is fast becoming as in my wife's case - a major source of allergy world-wide! Although we had been label-readers prior to our new found dietary challenge, this checking exercise greatly intensified which naturally affected all of us when it came to what we buy and what we eat as a family. We realised to our horror that even our beloved condiment was riddled with numbers and codes, artificial flavourings and acidifiers. Most of these non-appetising words and terms left us feeling like most consumers not knowing what was staring us in the face. The bottom line was, due to the soya emulsifier, our mayo had to go.
Now when it comes to cooking, my wife and I have never shied away from trying new things in the kitchen, speaking strictly about food of course! Being the 'man of the house'- provider, etc, (macho man-talk!) I decided to rise to the occasion and tackle the dilemma at hand by making the very brave decision (more macho man-talk..) to make our very own, home-grown mayonnaise. Well, this all started with tons of enthusiasm and soon degraded to a real laugh-a-minute for all in the family who watched me as my attempts ended in futility, one after the other! This tied in with mixed responses - wrapped in tactful phrases like "...you'll get it right Dad - just keep trying!" - down to the ultimate defeat, "..sorry Dad, rather get us shop-mayo please, no offense". But I'm proud to say, Dad did not give up! So the dog got fat, the bin got full and determination was running high on a mix of adrenaline, bull-headed determination and an inability to comprehend the phrase 'give up'! I was going to make a mayo that my family would prefer, no matter what.
After about six months of trying on and off as inspiration would grab me and of course at least three burnt out blenders later (well at least that is the number I am sticking with!) Finally Martinnaise made its first appearance. More importantly was that I had the family's taste buds enchanted at long last! Shop mayo lost, I won...YES!! (This is usually where you do the high five, low five, belly bounce thing! - OK, I suppose more macho man stuff...sorry girls..old habits) Now came the last part. This new found taste had to be named, hah! I thought making the mayo was a challenge. Eventually the name was the result of a casual family chin-wag in the kitchen while helping ourselves to spoon-full's of the family's latest taste invention. The girl's position was simple, it cannot be called just mayonnaise as people will expect it to taste like the usual acidic shop-mayos. So Martin and mayonnaise where promptly emulsified and blended and voila, it had a name! Martinnaise. My family finally had what we couldn't buy anywhere, preservative free mayonnaise. Since then it is consumed in our house with everything barring ice-cream and breakfast cereal! I guess some things will remain sacred, no matter what.
We have had a few friends make the generous offer to start a Martinnaise anonymous group for those hooked beyond salvation but we figured we want to create a few more addicts before we start a support group! OK, NOT! So, here we are after years of hard work and having spent more money than I care to admit to, doing the marketing things with a shoe-string budget and dreams bigger than Richard Branson! (Oh if you are reading this Mr Branson, I am still looking for some venture capitalist!)
Even our first label has its own unique story. Our Martinnaise logo is a fabric painting that my wife did, which we digitised and proudly dressed with our product name 'Martinnaise'. This painting hangs framed proudly in our house and serves as a constant reminder of what sparked the dream! We hope you too will give us a place in your home and help us realise our ultimate dream of seeing Martinnaise in every home around the world.