We see plenty of emotions from the Dragons on Dragons’ Den, such as anger and frustration, or elation when they land the entrepreneur of their dreams. But they were all unusually emotional in episode 3 of series 17 (Sunday, August 25th) as a young Malaysian entrepreneur entered the show.
Will Chew’s Malaysian chilli paste business, Mak Tok, is inspired by his mum’s recipe. Joyful but socially anxious Will was after the support of a Dragon to expand his family-run business into a global sauce brand.
But while his personality shone, his pitch did not hit the right notes at times. However, it was enough to secure him one Dragons’ support!
Here’s what happened when Will went on the hit BBC series with his chilli paste pitch and how to get your hands on the spicy sauce.
Meet Will Chew
Will Chew, originally from Penang, Malaysia, moved to the UK to study and now lives in Sheffield.
From 2010 to 2013, Will studied for a BSc in Psychology from Lancaster University. He then studied for an MA in Psychology of Music at the University of Sheffield from 2014 to 2015.
The 28-year-old was inspired to start Mak Tok as he missed his mother’s Malaysian chilli paste recipe. Will started making his own to cure his homesickness and turned it into the business with the help of his cousin.
Since Mak Tok launched in May 2017, they had sold 8000 units and launched in Booths supermarkets, as well as selling at local delis and food markets.
You can follow Will on Twitter for all his latest updates @WillChew_MAKTOK.
Mak Tok chilli paste wins one Dragon
Will entered the Den asking for a £50,000 investment into Mak Tok for a 20% stake in the business.
Although he won the Dragons’ over with his opening serenade and his cheeky smile, Will’s uncertainty on the business’ figures meant Deborah, Tej, Peter and Touker all opted out.
It was when Will opened up about his social anxiety that he won over newbie Sara Davies.
Will said: “I’m not the best to go out there and talk to people. I’m not good at phoning up people, I get really scared to do that.”
Will also said that he was after a Dragons’ “expertise and contacts” and that is just what Sara decided to offer him.
Splitting the business three ways between Will, his cousin and herself, Sara decided to take a gamble on Will. She said: “There are loads of chilli pastes but there’s only one Will, and I think you are great.”
Where can you buy Mak Tok?
As mentioned in the Dragons’ Den episode, Booths stock Mak Tok in a variety of stores across the north of England, including in Sheffield, Blackpool and Keswick. A full list of stockists can be seen on their website.
You can also buy all four flavours of Mak Tok’s chilli paste on their website here.
The four flavours are Signature, Satay, Sweet and Fire. The former three all retail at £3.95 a jar with the latter costing £4.39 per jar.
The Mak Tok website is also crammed with recipe ideas and how to use the sauce, so be sure to check out how versatile they are there!
Sara! You were totally awesome for investing. That was brilliant! Definitely one of the best moments ever on Dragon's Den. Congratulations!
— Dr Alyson Blanchard (@alysoneb) August 25, 2019
WATCH DRAGONS’ DEN: BEST PITCHES EVER SUNDAYS AT 8 PM ON BBC TWO