I had the idea for Cheese Parlour in early 2016. It came about because I have a range of tableware made from natural slate called Splate and one of the most popular uses of my Splate range is as a cheese board – so in fact the idea for Cheese Parlour was right under my nose. There has been an explosion in artisan cheese-making so I figured the idea of ordinary Irish people making their own cheese at home was the natural next step. I spent six months brainstorming it in my home office in Maynooth, Co Kildare, trying out recipes and sourcing the various elements for the cheese-making kit. The whole family got involved in testing – I even got my 12-year-old niece to test out the instructions to make sure a child could follow them.
I have a background in food science so a do-it-yourself cheese making kit really appealed to me. I’m delighted to finally be able to put my food science education to use to bring a new, innovative food product to Irish market. For me, the kit brings traditional farming skills into the average, modern kitchen.
The SuperValu Food Academy Programme has taught me to be very customer focused in my approach to the business. I got fantastic mentoring on the programme in finance, marketing, and product and packaging development. Aside from the knowledge and insights, the mentors also gave me excellent support, as did the other food academy participants. Kildare LEO has been very supportive too. The support and mentoring has been as important to me as the technical knowledge and skills.
The Cheese Parlour will create jobs over the next 12-18 months. We are intending on using local suppliers where possible for ingredients and packaging so in that way we are contributing to the Irish economy.