Yorkshire couple Razan Alsous and Raghid Sandouk win Channel 4’s Aldi’s Next Big Thing with business Yorkshire Dama Cheese as fans react to the episode

A Yorkshire couple Razan Alsous and Raghid Sandouk win Aldi’s Next Big Thing on Channel 4 with their business Yorkshire Dama Cheese.

Razan Alsous and Raghid Sandouk have won the episode that aired on Tuesday, April 16, after presenting their ‘Hello Mi Rolls’.

The couple, who run award-winning Sowerby Bridge business Yorkshire Dama Cheese, impressed judges.

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Aldi’s Next Big Thing is hosted by Anita Rani and Chris Bavin and sees a group of food and drink suppliers compete in a range of categories including dinners and baked goods, as well as exciting new category additions: party, world, and confectionery.

Razan Alsous and Raghid Sandouk. (Pic credit: Channel 4)Razan Alsous and Raghid Sandouk. (Pic credit: Channel 4)
Razan Alsous and Raghid Sandouk. (Pic credit: Channel 4)

The Yorkshire business specialises in creating a unique halloumi-style ‘squeaky cheese’, made from 100 per cent cow’s milk, alongside other dairy products including yoghurt, butter and ricotta.

But it’s their ‘Hello Mi Rolls’ that blew the judges away and have won the challenges.

After relocating from Syria in 2012, Razan and Raghid noticed a lack of good tasting, quality cheeses in British supermarkets, and decided to start their own cheese making business in 2014.

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Products are presented to Julie Ashfield, managing director of buying at Aldi UK, who deliberates on factors such as price, packaging, shopping demand, and the ability to scale up, before shortlisting contestants down to just two.

Razan Alsous and Raghid Sandouk, of Yorkshire Dama Cheese, on Aldi's Next Big Thing. (Pic credit: Channel 4)Razan Alsous and Raghid Sandouk, of Yorkshire Dama Cheese, on Aldi's Next Big Thing. (Pic credit: Channel 4)
Razan Alsous and Raghid Sandouk, of Yorkshire Dama Cheese, on Aldi's Next Big Thing. (Pic credit: Channel 4)

The finalists are given four weeks to address any feedback, with a follow-up home visit from Anita or Chris who report back their findings to Julie.

Razan Alsous and Raghid Sandouk won the contract which means their products will appear as a Specialbuy in more than 1,000 Aldi stores.

Razan said: “We came to the UK after the war in Syria in 2012. We had lost almost everything and had to settle into a new life in Yorkshire with three young children.

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“Initially, I began searching for a job but despite having a pharmacy degree and a scientific background, my lack of references and work history in the UK made it extremely difficult.

“After some time, I started to look at what's around me – the expertise I could tap into, the sources of support and other opportunities available.

“I thought, why not create a business and make Syrian cheese from fresh high-quality British milk? And so started our journey - with an idea and a start-up loan of just £2,500 from the Local Enterprise Agency.

“We had to adapt the equipment we bought and finally got the approval to start manufacturing cheese in June 2014.

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“After just four months of production, we won the WORLD CHEESE AWARD Bronze Prize 2014/15, which highlights perfectly the quality of our cheese.”

“The multi-category competition is part of Aldi’s ongoing commitment to support British suppliers. Last year, Aldi spent an additional £1.3 billion with British suppliers and growers, and they provide more than three quarters of all items sold in its stores.”

Fans react to Yorkshire couple winning Aldi’s Next Big Thing

“Congratulations. Will look out for the Hello Mi Rolls. So pleased you both won the contracts.” - Patricia Davies Laing

“Fantastic! Will be going to Aldi UK to get some tomorrow.” - Jean Amy

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“Congratulations guys, putting Sowerby Bridge on the map!, well done, a brilliant product.” - Stephen Birnie

“Congratulations, you’ve worked so hard, you deserve this and more. From the farmers markets and Yorkshire food festival to a national supermarket chain.” - Kate Rotheram

“Huge congratulations. Your cheese is lovely.” - Denise Burrows

“Can’t wait to try your products! Watched the programme and had to look you up to try before I even knew you’d won! Excited for you, good luck with your contract!!” - Nikki Moss Mason

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“So pleased for you and proud of all you have overcome. Congratulations on your bright future!” - Vivienne Wong Tobias

“Well done Ma sha Allah! You guys deserve the success! Watching the programme tonight had me in tears. You guys have come a long way. May Allah swt bless you with more success ahead Ameen.” - Saimah Shabir

“Amazing Razan! So proud, you can’t imagine.” - Lucy Gill-Simmen

“Huge congratulations, so pleased for you.” - Andrea Turner

“Oh my word! Huge well done!!” - Jane Conlon

“Amazing! Well done, shining stars.” - Michaela Ransley-Simpson

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“Congratulations to you both. Very well deserved.” - Simon Taylor

“Absolutely amazing, congratulations. Next time you are at the headquarters you should pop into ours for a cuppa.” - Brenda Viney

“Fantastic! Well done on winning!!!!!! Can’t wait to buy these in Aldi!” - Naomi Rebecca

“Amazing news and the best halloumi!” - Jane Walton

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