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Andy Soden

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Our Suppliers: Kernow Chocolate

Name: Andy Soden
Job Title: Operations Director
Nickname: Mr Angry
Time in role: too long!!

Favourite part of the Job:

My job is pretty varied (I basically do everything that nobody else wants to do) From client liaison to business development. It’s pretty varied, I love it all really….mostly!

Favourite Food:

Can there be just one? Probably Curry – Specifically Chicken Tikka Dansak. Failing that a good Aunt Avice pasty is always a treat.

Favourite place:

Maine, USA….or Villa Park.

Why I like V&M:

We’ve been with WestCountry for years now, it’s always been a key supply line for us and takes away a lot of the logistical hassle that a growing business can face. They’ve been key in getting our bars on shelves all over the South West.

Unusual fact about me:

I can fold my tongue in half backwards into my mouth….yeah I know, Impressive huh?! apparently only 1 in 10000 can do it. I found this out at a weird museum in Thailand. My daughter Gwen can do this weird 3 fold in her tongue….honestly you get a skill and you’re like THAT’S my thing….great!

Which Kernow Choc product best represents me and why?

Ha…good question! Ummmm probably the Chilli bars due to my (sometimes) fiery temper!

Who’s idea was it to open a chocolate factory & how did it come about?

It kind of came out of the blue, we used to run a Cornish Food & Drink shop, and wanted to make something ourselves to boost the profit margins a bit. Everyone in Cornwall back then seemed to make jams, chutneys or cheese, so chocolate seemed like something that would be fun to do and we spotted a gap in the market we thought we could make work. Fast forward a few years and I think we did ok out of it.

What’s the strangest customer request you’ve had?

We get a lot of flavour suggestions that are pretty bizarre. Probably any suggestion of things paired with Marmite. Those ideas go straight in the bin….Yuuuuck!

If you knew then what you know now what would you do differently?

Probably stay in finance! Haa haa haa! I don’t think I’d change a thing, we learn heaps on our journey through mistakes we’ve made and we’re a better company for it. 

As a family business how do you balance work & family life?

It’s pretty full on, we all live on the same farm, so we spend so much time together. Sometimes too much time, but we all get on pretty well. I go up to watch Aston Villa every home game with my son (pre-Covid lockdown), and play in a band which gives me 2 outlets totally different to the business and away from being in the family melting pot all the time. Everyone has pretty good hobbies, and myself, Nic, Phil & Vic are also raising young families so are constantly running around for the little ones too.

Dream job (apart from owning a chocolate factory which let’s face it is a dream job!)?

Aston Villa number 9 😊 Or I’d take playing Rhythm Guitar for Oasis…that’d be an easy life!

Covid 19 specific question – what’s the most positive thing you will take away from this time? 
It’s pretty difficult to take many positives out of this situation really. Our business has obviously suffered, and we are pretty apprehensive about what the future holds, especially given how closely we’re tied to the tourism industry down here which has frankly been decimated for 2020. I guess it’s brought us closer as a family, we’re all working together really hard to make sure there’s a Kernow Chocolate to keep going after this has all blown over. Oh, and after 16 years I’ve finally learned how to hand wrap a chocolate bar…something I’d never really got the hang of before (literally the only job in KC I hadn’t ever done!)

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