When Ross Patten was preparing to enter the second series of MasterChef, little did he know this would lead to start of his latest business venture, the Rice Cube.
While auditioning for the popular reality TV show, he was asked to show something innovative. Patten had created a dish that needed a cube-sized bit of couscous and while he started out with a couple of pieces of wood to create the shape, eventually he designed the Rice Cube and also made the move to rice instead of couscous.
“The dish or the Rice Cube never made it to TV, I think they thought I was trying to promote my new product so booted me off, but I knew I was onto something and decided to pursue it to see where it could take me,” he explains.
“That series the winner’s girlfriend was Japanese and wanted to use the Rice Cube to make sushi and here we are, five years later and I have basically reinvented sushi.”
When asked whom he targets Patten says 50 per cent of his customers are under 10 years old.
“Kids love making their own sushi so many parents buy the Rice Cube as a present for their children.”
Patten recently introduced the Dumpling Cube and at Maison&Objet launched his latest product, the Rice Ball, which can also be used to create protein balls, the latest fad sweeping Australia and the rest of the world.
Based in Noosa Heads, he literally is a one-man operation.
“I deal directly with the retailers, who are mostly independent stores. I have warehouses in Sydney, Hong Kong, London, LA and Philadelphia. As everything is cloud based, the automated process is very streamlined and delivery is mostly between two to three days no matter where you are based in the world.”
All three products retail for around $20 and are only available in red, a colour Patten believes suits his products best.
“I get asked if I can do them in other colours but I think red works so I’m sticking to it. I started out with white prototypes but the white stained. Eventually we got to the colour red and that was it really.”
By Marion Gerritsen