Carine Ottou
Carine Ottou

Marie's Little Jar

London, UK
Trading Since 2016
  • Marinade
  • Vegan
  • Natural

Lovingly made family recipes from Cameroon

In August of last year, I decided to cut my hair short. From that day on, my life was completely different.

But before I get into that, let me set the scene a little. It all starts in Yaoundé, Cameroon, where I grew up. As family duties required, from a young age I would contribute to cooking household meals and had the privilege to be involved in the daily shopping. There was always so much fresh and natural food easily accessible from the local daily markets.

On my 14th Birthday I moved to live in the South of France. Although I explored and learnt to embrace the new culture and environment, I spent the following 20 years trying very hard to fit in. I worked a career in corporate companies and everyday I would use artificial chemicals to straighten my hair to blend in. Everyday I conformed to what I thought people expected of me. There is a belief held amongst Africans that we have to dilute our culture and self-belief in order to be accepted. For years, I thought I had to hide from who I was and where I came from.

For a long time I was seeking something more. I wanted to break loose from this artificial perception of my self that I had created. I wanted to go back to my roots, where culture is strong and where I learnt to appreciate the great and authentic things in life - true flavour being one of them. I have since realised that here lay the answer; treasures right in my hands that I had chosen to ignore while living the life I thought was expected of me.

So, in August 2015, not only did I decide to cut my hair short, but I reaffirmed my convictions with the direction in which I decided to take Marie’s Little Jar. The products are a result of my decision to return back to basics, where overly processed food has no place; only natural, good, healthy food and flavour. Marie’s Little Jar represents just that; RAW in as many shapes and forms as possible, SIMPLE by its composition and process, HEALTHY by avoiding all artificial components, ACCESSIBLE by making the flavours of West and Central African cuisine available.

Back when I was growing up in Cameroon, I learnt that the true story of our cuisine is fresh, natural flavour. Now I’ve learnt to tell the true story of who I am, and that’s what’s lovingly packed into every single jar.