Celebrating its fifth anniversary, UMAMI Bermuda Spice Co. has quickly become a staple in every home chef’s pantry. Founder “spiceologist” Rinelle White is ensuring her customers have the tools to put “clean, delicious, gourmet(esque) food” on the table. As the brand’s tagline touts, it’s “Not just spices. Embrace the lifestyle.

The product of a large, boisterous family herself, Rinelle shares, “I believe that sitting down to eat with loved ones is one of the best things you can do for your soul, your health and your happiness.” A self-proclaimed picky eater as a kid, she jokes, “I was the child with texture issues that had to sit at the table for hours because I wouldn’t eat my food.” From then, she became determined to find the best-tasting food possible, catalysing her journey to UMAMI. With hungry mouths of her own at home to feed, Rinelle has positioned her children at the centre of her business model since the beginning. “I have been a parent for my entire adult life, so I learned early to navigate ‘stretching a dollar’ while providing the best possible meals for my kids,” she says. With UMAMI, Rinelle is helping other parents do the same.

Another key stitch in the brand’s fabric is educating home cooks about the holistic health benefits behind freshly ground spices. Educating herself over the last ten years, Rinelle has channelled this knowledge into the ethos of UMAMI, becoming “aware of the huge impact that food and spices play on your brain function, your health and longevity.” Understanding and harnessing these natural wellness benefits has become her mission, encouraging the idea that “healthy” and “delicious” can be synonymous. Through UMAMI, Rinelle is hoping to develop the consumer’s relationship with food, particularly the concept of “unhealthy food as a reward.”

“Navigating the food industry these days is a skill in itself,” she explains, “so I am really big on simplifying with whole foods and small, pronounceable ingredient lists, so that we know exactly what we are eating.” She elaborates. “I want to show people that really delicious, high-quality, fresh food can be the reward.”

When asked where UMAMI came from, Rinelle explains that it was born in a “roundabout way.” A lifelong knack for food and entertaining—and gardening more recently, she says, provided the genesis: “A good friend of mine suggested that I do something along the lines of growing herbs locally and creating blends and infusions with them.” Up until then, she had been buying up spices wherever she travelled and experimenting at home. “One night while I was entertaining, a guest, knowing that I was making my own blends, asked if they could buy ‘whatever I’d seasoned the Cornish hen with,’” she remembers. “After that, it clicked.”

“The name was easy!” Rinelle adds. “UMAMI is the fifth taste, after salty, sour, bitter and sweet. It’s a pleasant, savoury taste and was discovered by the Japanese. It translates as, literally, “deliciousness,” she tells us.

Rinelle’s “trial and error” process has led to sensationally popular products, pulling flavour profiles from the island and time spent traveling abroad. “I try to create flavours that resonate with Bermudians,” she explains, nodding to their Fishcakes by UMAMI and Bermuda Fish blends.  When asked if she has a favourite, Rinelle sheepishly replies, “I go through such phases, I really love them all!” After some thought, she admits, “I probably use The Herbed Turkey, The Middle Eastern, The Hot Mexican and UMAMI Jerk the most.” For cooks looking to season just about anything, their all-purpose blend, aptly titled The Everything Spice, is an unequivocal favourite. Available seasonally, The Summer Series, including Bermuda Fish, Bermuda Summer and Bermuda Braai blends, is perfect for beach barbecues and picnics. Rinelle teases new product debuts, like sea salt blends and unexpected flavour combinations for her syrups, with a focus on cocktails. She is also toying with the idea of a pop-up shop, and potentially even some spice classes!

On the surface, this budding business is simplifying meal prep and relieving stress in the kitchen but at its core, UMAMI is helping home cooks re-discover their confidence in cooking. “I say it all the time, but UMAMI has really brought back my passion for cooking,” one happy customer shares online. To taste test for yourself, visit umamibermuda.com to shop online, or visit one of the following locations: Miles Market, Island Pantry, Long Story Short, Lindo’s Market, Wadson’s Farm, Windybank Farm, Island Outfitters, LF Wade International Airport and ER Fisheries—with more locations to come!