Linsey Wynton meets a bus driver who has launched his own spicy sauce
A bus driver who is launching his own range of spicy sauces has spoken about his inspirational triumph-over-tragedy story.
Gilchrist Thomas, 43, drives the W11 from Walthamstow Bus Station to Chingford Hall Estate – but has now turned entrepreneur to develop his ‘My Sauce’ range.
A possible rival to Levi Roots’ Reggae Reggae Sauces, Gilchrist’s scotch bonnet table sauce and spicy pineapple marinade are backed by a national manufacturer.
Gilchrist, who was orphaned at the age of seven and raised by his elder siblings, said: “I left home at the age of 16 and I had to fend for myself. Having learned cooking skills from my sisters and family members, I used to experiment with different seasoning and ingredients to create sauces.
“Many of my friends complimented my sauces and were always encouraging me to turn it into a business.”
Without much support to overcome his experiences and few positive male role models, apart from his big brother, Gilchrist was expelled from school. “I had no sense of direction, no career prospects, no sense of purpose, and no self-worth. So it was no surprise that I ran on the wrong side of the law for a while.”
Gilchrist worked as a DJ but developed drug and alcohol problems. He eventually turned his life around, meeting his wife, becoming a Christian, and completing a university degree. He worked as a youth worker for several years before government cuts meant he became redundant.
The father-of-three has been driving buses for the last four years. Gilchrist said: “No matter what life throws at you, no matter if you’ve been dealt a bad hand and are at a disadvantage, you can turn things around with the right attitude, drive, focus, determination and positive encouragement.”
Gilchrist, who set up his firm Thomas Kondiments last year, will be promoting My Sauce at events including Waltham Forest Mela on Sunday 5th August, Chingfest on Saturday 11th August, and Leytonstone Street Festival on Sunday 2nd September.
Various local shops are also now stocking Gilchrist’s products, including Eat17 Spar, Froth & Rind, East London Sausage Company, Wynwood Art District, and Sunland Caribbean Foods in Walthamstow; Grill on the Green, Jerk Spice, and Shaws Quality Butchers in Chingford; and Jumbo UK in Leyton.
Tiggy Taliadoros, manager of Wynwood, said: “We always put My Sauce in halloumi and hummus sandwiches. It gives great balance and it’s one of our customers’ favourites.”
For more information on Thomas Kondiments: