Mrs Muamba’s - Caribbean Sauces set to add some spice to the nation's dinner tables
PUBLISHED: 00:00 08 September 2014 | UPDATED: 20:55 09 September 2014
Footballer Fabrice Muamba and wife, Shauna launch range of cooking sauces
I’ve been invited to interview Shauna Muamba 29 (wife of the former Bolton footballer Fabrice, 25, who in March 2012, technically died for 78 minutes when he suffered a heart attack on the pitch.) I’m secretly wondering how to make my article about a WAG from Wilmslow less woolly and more wholesome. Shoes, handbags, hot bodies and workouts? Throw me a creative bone. Then my editor mentions Shauna’s in the sauce business and my culinary curiosity is stirred.
Shauna is a straight-talking sassy siren with an effervescent, larger than life personality. I’m invited to sit in their fashionably decorated lounge - the whole house was decorated by Shauna sans help. And very tastefully, I might add. I must also mention, this saucy signorita won a scholarship in 2008 for a MA in media enterprise from Birmingham City University. Smart and spicy; a delectable taste combo.
Shauna and Fabrice met in a Birmingham nightclub called Oceana in January 2006 and married in 2012. ‘Fabrice was instantly smitten by me,’ playfully reveals Shauna in the direction of her affections.
Fabrice was present during our interview and lovingly smirks back. Fast-forward their sweetheart romance and now the two are proud parents to five-year-old Joshua and Matthew, 11 months. Shauna is explicit about her priorities. ‘I’m a mum and family is my priority. Business has to work with me, versus the other way around.’
Shauna’s in the business of food. ‘I’m passionate about cooking,’ she announces. Post studying, Shauna created a catering company providing Caribbean inspired food for football players. ‘I was doing really well as it’s a niche market and there’s no Caribbean restaurants in this area. You have to go to Manchester if you want to eat it. If you’re a well-known footballer this isn’t ideal as they don’t want to go places in unknown areas where people may hassle them.
‘I wanted to supplement my income but I didn’t want to become the Caribbean queen and take over the world. Fab’s accident happened and orders from the general public increased.’
She was overwhelmed with the sudden influx of orders and lacked an infrastructure to manage her burgeoning business. ‘I ended up making some bad choices,’ Shauna adds. ‘I was personally delivering food and only charging £5 to the customer. The petrol for my Audi Q7 cost me more! Clearly this wasn’t financially viable any longer so I decided something had to change. I came up with two options: to either retrain as a lawyer or else pursue a different food angle.’
As luck would have it, Shauna (while pregnant with Matthew) was introduced to Amanda Peberdy at ARC retail consultancy in Ilkley. ‘She suggested I focus on creating a range of sauces. Amanda had tried my gravy and loved it and wanted me to replicate the taste and flavour to sell in a jar.’ Cue the birth of Mrs Muamba’s.
So, Mrs Muamba’s is a locally produced, flavoursome range of five Caribbean jar sauces all created by Shauna and containing no artificial colours or additives. It’s currently stocked in Booths and Asda and the brand is working towards confirmed listings in other major retailers this year. Fabrice and Shauna are in agreement the business is a family affair, ‘Fabrice is the director and chief taster.’
He interjects: ‘One night I was sleeping and woke to find no Shauna lying next to me. I went downstairs and she’s at the stove cooking at 2am, creating sauces.
‘I had my time and now she’s having her moment and when I was playing she supported me and now I support her.’
These days Fabrice is studying sports journalism at university in Stafford and moonlights as a football pundit on various broadcast channels and in print.
Shauna adds: ‘Fabrice believes in me and is the sole investor in our company, we have no outside investment and he took a chance on my dream using our family’s savings.’
Each of this pair expresses a great deal of support for the other. In a nod to her husband’s life-changing pitch moment, Shauna makes a donation from the sale of each jar to Arrhythmia Alliance (Hearts and Goals.) This is a charity they’re both patrons of, which is committed to making more defibrillators available, the piece of medical equipment that ultimately saved Fabrice’s life that day in 2012.
I wonder how such a high profile couple live their version of a ‘normal’ life? Fabrice replies: ‘We’re normal people who live normal lives. Sometimes I get stopped for pictures but I can walk to Tesco and it’s fine. Don’t forget Rooney and the like live around here so people are used to us.’
Shauna admits to also enjoying an occasional ‘sprinkle of sparkle’. ‘Last week we were in Monaco with Jude Law, Jessie J and Prince Albert of Monaco at The Peace One Day Gala,’ she says.
Six days later I spot a more causal Shauna rolling around our local soft play centre with her youngest son, enjoying her most cherished role of mother. ‘I really do like handbags and shoes,’ she reassures me with a teasing twinkle in her eye.
Shauna is dynamic and it’s evident she is more than simply a wife of a famous face attached to a brand. She’s both aspirational and ambitious.
‘I want Mrs Muamba’s to be an internationally recognised brand, not just the sauces but to offer a range of products from starter through to mains and dessert.’ She stalls slightly. ‘I know I’ve got a great product and part of me is wary and scared as I’m putting myself out there.’
I note an intimate gaze between the couple and Shauna regains momentum. ‘We want Mrs Muamba to be as recognisable as Heinz and Coca Cola.’
With Shauna Muamba leading the field and Fabrice defending their position I’m confident of a win for this range of inspired sauces.
About Fabrice and Shauna
Fabrice Muamba was born in DRC Lubumbashi on April 6th 1988 and he and his family soon relocated to London as refugees as from wartorn DRC.
Fabrice trained as a footballer at Kelmscott School in London and his first professional signing was for Arsenal, who were also the first Premiership team he played for.
Fabrice suffered a heart attack on March 17 2012 on the pitch at at the Spurs, ????Tottenham game ????? and was hospitalised for 41 days
Two months after the attack he declared he would not return to Premiership football.
When Shauna met Fabrice in Oceana nightclub, Fabrice explained he was a student.
In 2007 Shauna completed a BA in media and communications at Birmingham City University.
Shauna’s catering company was called Shauna’s Ltd
Fabrice and Shauna don’t employ a nanny so juggle childcare between them. Shauna’s mum lives around the corner and Fabrice’s aunt is close by and both enjoy helping out.
The manufacturers of Mrs Muamba’s sauce is in Thatcham, Wiltshire