As we enter the month of May, the sun is starting to make an appearance, which means the Irish festival season is starting to warm up. Regardless of the weather, the season for food events and festivals is fast approaching and we cannot wait!
Food events are the perfect day out for everyone, they are a great way to discover Ireland, support local businesses and are a way to experience some of the best food Ireland has to offer.
Many have free entry and are accompanied with live music, children's activities and all round entertainment for you to really get in the Summer mood.
Here are a list and information on some of the best food events and festivals in Ireland this summer!
31st-4th of June: Bloom, Dublin.
31st- 4th of June: International Food Truck Festival, Limerick.
June 9th: Pizza and Prosecco Festival, Dublin.
June 14th-17th: The Eatyard Crisp Festival, Dublin.
June 15th-17th: Bia Lover Festival of Food, Galway.
June 15th-18th: Taste Dublin, Dublin.
June 17th: The Garden Festival, Limerick.
June 22nd-24th: Body and Soul, Westmeath.
June 25th-30th : Irish Gin and Tonic Festival.
June 29th-July 1st : Seafest, Galway.
July 5th-8th: Kilmore Quay Seafood Festival, Wexford.
July 8th-15th: Ballina Salmon Festival, Mayo.
July 14th-15th: Wing Food Fest, Bray, Wicklow.
July 21st-22nd : Valenica Island King Scallop Festival, Kerry.
August 4th-5th: Beat Yard 2018, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin.
August 16th-19th: The Big Grill Festival, Dublin.
August 24th-26th: The Dalkey Lobster Festival, Dublin.
The time has come to meet another one of the great chefs here at Newmarket Kitchen.
Today's blog we get to know Rohan, one of the newest members here in our kitchen.
Rohan is the creator of Rohan's Sauces and with his years of experience and passion for food, we are excited to see what the future holds for Rohan.
When did you decide to become a chef?
I don’t think there was a single moment when I decided to become a chef, I always had a real love of food right from when I was a very young child. I would have cooked dinners at home from age 10, so the first part time job I got on weekends and summers during school, I went straight in to a kitchen and I never really looked back!
Did you have any former training?
I went to Cathal Brugha street and studied professional cookery full time, I qualified in 2001 finishing first in my year and won the JM perpetual trophy, which was pretty cool as it looked a bit like the Sam Maguire. After that, I went on to do an advanced course in ethnic cousin in Cathal Brugha street and a module in HACCP system design.
Where have you previously worked?
I can honestly say I have worked in all parts of the catering industry, I started off working in Avoca, went on to Work in Rolys Ballsbridge and then the Vico in Dalkey, I also worked abroad in France and Australia. When I returned home, I worked agency and a lot of industrial catering. I currently work for the Park Academy Creche group which is amazing, all the food is made from scratch and we don’t use any processed products in our meals. I work on designing the menus and recipes there and it is really rewarding to have a chance to be an influence on the next generation in eating a healthy, balanced diet and educating the palate on all kinds of foods.
What gave you the idea for Rohan’s Pasta Sauce?
While I was working in the Park Academy crèche, one of the big challenges was to get the children to eat all their vegetables. So I started hiding the vegetables in the sauces and making the veg content through the roof. I realised that the children were not the only ones that weren’t eating all the vegetables they should be, and with the recent highlighting of the high sugar, salt and oil content in mainstream sauces, I really felt I could bring a great healthy alternative to the market.
When did you set up your business?
I set up Rohan’s Sauces at the start of 2018, I was lucky enough to be part of the Supervalu Food Academy programme which was great at helping me get the business up and running.
What prompted you to start your food business?
I guess I always wanted to work for myself, I have had some business ideas through the years but never really developed any of them. When I developed Rohan’s Sauces, I really felt I had a great product that was such a simple way to help people eat healthily, that I just had to get it out there.
Is there a chef you admire most? Who and why?
I don’t watch any chefs on TV, I guess it feels like working when I am at home. The chefs that I admire are the ones that taught me what I know in college and in the workplace, there are far too many of them to mention, but I am very grateful to every one of them.
Have you any tips that you think would help someone starting off a food business?
The biggest tip I would give people is know what you’re getting in to, I have seen so many people through the years who thought getting into the food business would be a nice, almost romantic idea. But it is bloody hard work, when you have been on your feet for 17 hour days like I have in the past few weeks, it is anything but romantic. Don’t get me wrong, it is hugely rewarding, but be prepared for the hard work.
What has been your best experience since starting Rohan’s Pasta Sauce?
I think my first day in Killruddery Farmers Market was great, I had a tasting section set up and when a total stranger turns up to taste your creation it is daunting, thankfully almost everyone that tasted the sauces bought them which was amazing, as with a healthy sauce, you can’t recreate the hit you get from all the sugar and salt you would be used to in a pasta sauce, so I was so happy when people appreciated the much more natural flavours in Rohan’s Sauces.
Where can we find your products?
At the moment, I am selling them every Saturday at Killruddery Farmers Market. In May, they will be going into the Wicklow Supervalu stores in the Food Academy section. I will be working to get them into some of the smaller local shops and butchers over the next few weeks.
Do you have any new or exciting plans for Rohan’s Sauces?
Well in development we have Rohan’s Thai Curry Sauces and possibly a Mexican style sauce after that, but at the moment we have just started out so we concentrating on getting a really good quality and consistent product to market and getting the word out there that this is what everyone should be eating.
How have you found your experience at Newmarket Kitchen so far?
Newmarket has been great, the fact its open to me 24/7 is brilliant as I can work around a busy schedule. The equipment in there is fantastic, meaning I can make large batches at a one time and it saves a lot of time. Also Shane and all the staff have been so helpful in lots of ways, not just in the kitchen but in contacts for all sides of the business. It is also great to be in with other start-up businesses, already a few of us have started to help each other out and you can see how it’s such a great propagator for small businesses
Here at Newmarket kitchen we have so many amazing members bringing amazing products to the Irish Food market.
In our member’s spotlight we would like you to meet Zane from the health meal delivery service- Fit Meal!
As an experienced chef, personal trainer and Fitness competitor, Zane is aware of the diet struggles that are faced by clients preventing them from reaching their goals. Fit Meal was created to help people be healthier, happier and fitter and with the delivery service and custom made meals to suit each individual customer, Zane is bringing healthy meals to clients using quality Irish ingredients.
When and why did you decide to become a chef?
That would be really long story, ha-ha. But shortly said I wanted to make my grandparents proud of me and follow their steps. I’m sure they are happy watching me now.
Did you have any former training?
Yes indeed, 5 years of college as a chef followed by 15 years of pure cooking in different places from breakfast to fine dining style, completed Nutrition in advanced sports course, Personal training course, and over 8 years in fitness industry including bodybuilding competitions.
Where did you work as a chef before creating Fit Meal?
In Dublin at the Bewley’s Hotel, The Ballsbridge Hotel and O’Connell’s Donnybrook
What gave you get the idea for Fit Meal?
Helping people to get their fitness results while dieting or simply improving their wellbeing
When did you set up your business?
January 2017 I had my first client K.Harris
What prompted you to start your food-business?
My friends including K. Harris and my ex-Girlfriend who were great supporters in tough times
What are your top tips on staying healthy?
Everything in moderation
What has been your best experience since creating Fit Meal?
Hard to tell what the best experience is, so far I’d say that I’m thankful for all our supporters and clients that can see the value in what we do. That we do something that really works for them, in terms of lifestyle and health improvement.
How many areas does Fit Meal reach?
The South Side Dublin and Dublin City Centre
What is your favourite type of food to cook?
No preference. But I do like to produce Colourful, vibrant, crunchy, fresh and top quality products.
Do you cater for customers with special diet requirements? (Coeliac, vegan etc.?)
Indeed. That is our weapon. We know all of those allergies might be a pain in the neck so we can aim to create custom meals. Our menus are very healthy already as we avoid adding wheat and dairy etc.
Have you any tips that might help a person starting a food business?
Don’t be afraid to fail. Each time you learn something new which pushes you up.
Do you have any new or exciting future plans for Fit Meal?
Fit meal has huge potential in the future, we have our strategy plan which won’t be revealed at this stage.
How have you found your experience in Newmarket Kitchen?
Newmarket kitchen helped us to grow, learn, and speed up the whole process. Shane is always there to give a hand and willing to help. We are here like a big family, supporting each other in tough times and having a laugh when thing gets easier.
I’m definitely recommending NMK to anyone willing to start-up food business.
Know your customer
Identify who your customer is. It’s impossible to gain more customers when you can’t identify where they are coming from. Knowing this information will allow you to create a strategy to target them and will help determine where the focus of your marketing should lie.
Ecommerce and digital
Utilise all digital channels possible to educate and inform your customer about the product- Facebook, Instagram and Twitter should be an entrepreneur’s new best friend. Put your product out there and reach those who probably wouldn’t have seen it otherwise. Consumer’s time is invaluable, and as the demand for convenience increases grocery sales begin to shift online which means introducing an ecommerce aspect can send your business soaring- Online platforms include Shopify, Weebly, Magento and Amazon launch pad.
Learn from other founders
One of the many positives of joining a shared kitchen community is the access to other like-minded, creative and entrepreneurial people whose businesses are developing and overcoming challenges daily. The best advice you can get is from those who have gone through the process. Talk to other founders, query what worked for them and what didn’t – They might even let you in on a few of their secrets to success!
Stay in control
Know your business, know your brand and have confidence in it. Become familiar with the market you are in and your competitors, growing an awareness to others around you. This is vital when meeting a new customer, know the facts- where your brand sits in the market and why it’s a good fit for that customer, take control of the conversation with confidence but make sure you also listen.
That brings me on nicely to my final tip, listen. Talk to your customer, ask them what they would like, what they think works and what they would consider changing. Be open to constructive criticism and take everything on board, after all they are the one you rely on buying your product!
It's time again to take a closer look at another chef who spends his days cooking away in our kitchen. Naveen Bachani is the creator behind Vada Pow, we had a chat with him to find out more about the man behind the brand
Why did you decide to become a chef and what age was it at?
My background is actually in catering at Shannon college of hotel management. In our first year it was based around more operational aspects, which includes the kitchen of course which I worked most in when on placement. I thought at that point cooking was something I might explore but I hadn’t decided at that point that it was what I wanted to do. So, after 10 years of college and working in the food industry back in India I decided to pursue a food business.
Did you have any formal training?
No I didn’t, I am not a culinary chef but I do have basic training in kitchen skills from my college placement as I had the experience of working in all areas of the hotel from cleaning toilets and making beds to cooking food
How did you end up coming to Ireland?
I came first in 2001 until 2005 when I went back home and worked in India until Christmas 2015 when I came back to Ireland to start my food business Va Da Pow.
What is your favourite cuisine to cook?
Fusion cooking definitely! Sometimes it sounds gross but combining things like italian cooking with indian if it is done right can taste really nice. A little bit of fusion is good but probably not dishes like a curry spaghetti!
Is there a chef you admire the most? Who and why?
I don’t admire just one chef, I have three that each give me different types of inspiration.
Jamie Oliver, I like his quickness of his cooking, how he can make something look so simple, quick and easy. The second is Vineet Bhatia, he is an Indian chef. His way of simple Indian cooking inspires me most. Gordon Ramsey is the third, I admire his leadership skills and how he gets things done.
If you weren't a chef what would you have been?
Working as an accountant. In school in India accounting was one of my subjects and was the one that I liked most.
If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Va Da Pow of course! -(Naveens own brand)
What is your top cooking tip for home chefs?
Get a proper balance. In any kind of cooking that uses a lot of ingredient like Indian, Italian or Spanish cuisine it’s really important to get a good balance of spices and the ingredients. It’s all about tasting along the way to make sure the balance to get the end result.
is right and keep it simple because sometimes trying to make something complex can completely ruin the dish.