Food Academy

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A Bit on the Side

When I moved to Canada with my young family in the 90s, I was astounded with the enormous range of food available in even the smallest supermarket. The cultural melting pot that is Canada is the impetus for this.

People come here from all over the world and bring an amazing array of recipes and food ideas which then fuse and blend to create fantastic gastronomic inspiration.

Another feature of Canadian culture that I fell in love with was the inclusion of the whole family in celebrations and the way that most celebrations took place in the home. We were regularly invited to friends’ houses for dinner where it was a given that all the tiny humans would be included…or as the French call it ‘en famille’.

One summer’s evening in our best friend’s kitchen, sipping wine while the children cleared the peas from her garden like a swarm of locusts, I tasted something that stunned me…Jalapeno Jelly. She served it with cheese and crackers but gave me loads of other serving ideas - such a versatile condiment!

Next day I set about playing around with different recipes, finding just the right balance of heat and sweetness for our Irish palate. Yes! Now I would never be without a jar of this indispensable deliciousness.

Upon return to our own beautiful country, I continued to make Red and Green Jalapeno Jelly for family and friends who were smitten at first taste. At this time, I was studying for a degree in Linguistics and Literature while raising our children.

When my older children left to have their own adventures in the world, I was teaching adult literacy…a very rewarding job. Then I received a serious medical diagnosis. Thankfully, I made a fantastic recovery. This was a turning point…I decided that I would spend the rest of my working life marching to the beat of my own drum. I would give free rein to my creativity, love of feeding people and love of fun. I would start my own food business.

Lovely, you may say. But how in the world was I going to do this? Not a clue!

Being a firm believer in asking for help, I approached the Meath Local Enterprise Office – problem solved.

Up to this point I had been struggling and stumbling my way through what seemed like a very complex process of actually getting my product to market. Alas, there was help at hand – lots of help.

I was offered a place on the Food Academy and immediately order was brought to my business. Every aspect of developing a food business was covered by professionals at the top of their field. I now have total confidence in what I’m doing and if ever I have a question, there is always someone to approach. I also feel so much better prepared approaching new customers and sales are steadily rising. I am so excited and truly honoured to have my product stocked in Supervalu.

This opportunity will allow me to hire a production manager while I get to focus on building my brand and bringing these jars of deliciousness to more people.

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