Interview with Jean Madden CMO at TiNDLE
This week we caught up with Jean Madden CMO at TiNDLE to talk about what’s great about TiNDLE, challenges encountered in the early development phase and what TiNDLE are planning this year.
Can you tell us a little more about TiNDLE and what made you join Next Gen Foods?
TiNDLE is the first brand from Next Gen Foods, which is a two-year-old startup that’s creating delicious and satisfying foods that are made from plants. TiNDLE is a delicious, sustainable, and highly versatile chicken – that was developed with chefs and for chefs. It is made from nine simple ingredients, all sourced from plants, crafted with non-GMO ingredients and none of the downsides typically associated with chicken from birds – such as cholesterol, antibiotics, or hormones.
Our flagship product, TiNDLE, has grown from being served in several restaurants in Singapore (in March of last year) to now over 200 restaurants around the globe – in some of the most food-loving destinations including Hong Kong, Dubai and Amsterdam (and soon to be some of the top foodie destinations in the U.S.). Additionally, it can be used across a variety of cooking applications and cuisines. From street food to Michelin Starred fine dining, we’ve seen that TiNDLE has inspired chefs to create incredible dishes across our current markets in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East so far.
I joined Next Gen Foods in 2020, after spending over 12 years of my career helping to shape and grow other fast-moving consumer goods companies, including L’Oréal and Unilever. Next to a general love for food – and a long-standing inspiration by the overall passion of chefs – I was really drawn to the company’s mission of deliciously reversing climate change. On a personal level, I’m a mother to two young daughters and want to ensure that they’re able to experience this glorious planet as they get older.
Did you encounter any big challenges when TiNDLE launched?
One of the challenges that we faced early in the development phase was ensuring that TiNDLE could not only excite professional chefs but also truly perform in terms of taste, cookability, and quality. Of course, chefs are the toughest critics – and we had to make sure they loved TiNDLE from the start!
So, rather than producing a final product and then getting input from chefs and restaurant operators later on, we looked to involve them much earlier in the process. This led to some great relationships with chefs in Singapore, where we launched in March 2021, and we were able to see how TiNDLE performed in their actual kitchens and in some of their most creative and delicious recipes.
Immediately following our launch in Singapore, demand for TiNDLE grew around the world and we heard from chefs and consumers who wanted to bring it to their cities. Since then, we’ve debuted TiNDLE in 8 cities in under 8 months – all during the height of COVID and without the convenience and ability to travel widely. Despite that, we were able to create the building blocks for a global (and remote) company.
What are some of the most creative dishes made using TiNDLE?
The amazing thing about TiNDLE is its unique versatility in terms of texture and chew. Chefs love TiNDLE not only because of its flavor (which chefs say is equivalent to the umami of chicken), but also because how creative they’re able to be with it in its raw form. TiNDLE has the fatty chicken aroma that you get from dark meat, but also the lean quality that people love about white meat.
We’ve seen some truly outstanding creations from chefs in the past 12 months. Some of the best applications I’ve witnessed are TiNDLE waffles, noodles, and sushi. Personally, I have so many favorite dishes, but a few stand-out dishes are Chef Mural’s butter TiNDLE pot pie at ADDA in Singapore, Chef Rocco DiSpirito’s TiNDLE parm sliders (who offered these as a sneak preview in the U.S. before our launch there), and as a TiNDLE-Toban-Yaki at Akira Back’s restaurant in Dubai.
Is there anything you are currently working on which you can spill the beans on?
Last November, we officially launched TiNDLE in Amsterdam. The Netherlands is home to our manufacturing facility, and it was great to finally bring TiNDLE to Amsterdam – starting with six amazing restaurants. This year, we’re continuing to expand around the globe – with the United States coming up next. In the US, we plan to partner with popular chicken joints and chefs in top dining destinations and food-loving cities, so look out for where to find TiNDLE across America.
Best piece of advice you have been given?
A dear mentor of mine shared this piece of advice: “It’s okay to fail, it’s not okay not to try.” It’s a saying that I live by every day.
If you had a free day in London to do what you want, where would you go?
With a free day in London, I’d start first with a visit to Borough Market and sample a bit of everything. After grabbing some fuel for the day, I’d head out to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum – and take in some stunning nature photography.
Then, I’d head out through Hyde Park or South Bank for an afternoon stroll. Finally, to top off the day, I’d find a nice, lively restaurant for dinner, maybe checking out a new eatery with friends.
Photography courtesy of TiNDLE