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From football to food — Farren Ray’s new journey

Playing in the AFL for 13 years, I certainly went through the highs and lows. From moving interstate as a teen, to being traded, through to playing in a drawn Grand Final.

Football was the hardest thing I’ve ever done but also the most rewarding. Walking off after a win and singing the song, knowing that you contributed was a great feeling. I’ve always been a hard worker and when football eventually finished, it was time for a new challenge.

Like most footballers, good health was an integral part of my life. Without a balanced, healthy diet you cannot survive in the AFL.

In 2008, I met my now fiancée Bianca, just before I crossed to the Saints. She is a type 1 diabetic who has to eat certain foods that respond favourably to her blood sugar levels.

Bianca has taught me a lot of things, one of which is the value of eating good food. Her passion and knowledge of different food types stems from her Italian background.

Bianca brought my attention to a particular vegetable with untapped potential — the Cauliflower. A retro-roast classic now considered one of the world’s healthiest foods.

As it turns out, cauliflower is high in vitamin C and fiber with much less starch than other root vegetables. Not only is it healthy, but as we discovered, it’s also extremely versatile — easy to form into granule size, ground into flour or puree.

The more we explored, the more we realised there was a chance to develop a number of ‘cauliflower products’ and fill a gap in the market. Our aim was simple — transform the humble cauliflower into something fresh, contemporary and inviting.

The next step was to create a variety of original cauliflower based recipes from home, beginning with assorted dips and crackers, under the brand name Curiously Cauli.

I happily retired from the AFL in 2016, content with what I had achieved over my football career. I now had a new passion and challenge with ‘CC’ that would get me up and running. Our kitchen ‘Cauli’ recipe experiments led to some serious R&D work with CSIRO and RMIT University, who were very helpful and supportive of our new concept.

It was a long 2.5 years in development but we are now thrilled to be out in the market with our own Curiously Cauli (cauliflower based) Dip and Cracker range.

We are currently stocked in over 50 stores and have just entered the NSW market. More Importantly, our products are gluten free, no added sugar and lower in carbs than most foods in the category.

Best of all, thanks to Bianca, they taste great! Hopefully everyone can get around an old footballer who’s gone mad on Cauliflower; a humble vegetable poised for stardom!

You can visit the website here, and follow on Instagram here.