Leitrim Organic Farmers Cooperative

Leitrim Organic Farmers Coop was established in 1998 with the objectives of developing markets for its members produce and providing education and training. Since then the Cooperative has gone from strength to strength and so have its members.

We were delighted to have John Brennan from Leitrim Organic Farmers join us for the Kus Kus Virtual Learning Week and learn about the many routes to market the coop promotes and provides for its members.

An Chistin, Castlerea

An Chistin is a state-of-the-art training and community kitchen located in Castlerea, Co. Roscommon which currently offers a full-time 48 week QQI Level 5 Course in Professional Cookery under the auspices of the GRETB.
The overall aim  of An Chistin (Irish for Kitchen) is to assist unemployed people in the area of Castlerea and surrounding areas which are not otherwise catered for and to aid them to move towards employment by providing community based training and work experience leading to a nationally recognized qualification.
Find out more on https://www.facebook.com/anchistinthehub

Leitrim Food Directory and Sourcing Guide

The Leitrim Food Directory and Sourcing Guide is a Taste Leitrim initiative from Leitrim Local Enterprise Office and Leitrim County Council which is designed to connect restaurants and the retail sector with our local artisan food and drink producers and the wealth of wonderful produce on our doorstep in the county.

From farms to butchers, organic growers to sourdough bakers, small batch producers of preserves, sauces and dressings to local honey producers and chocolatiers, sushi and fresh seafoods to dairy ice-cream, kefir and cheese, to craft beers and gin distilleries and coffee –  we have a wealth of produce that we want to bring to the fore on menus across Leitrim and further afield.

See Leitrim Producers – Taste Leitrim for more details

The Food Hub

The Food Hub is a best practice food production and education facility based in Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim. Since it’s establishment in 2004, it has emerged as Ireland’s premier artisan multi tenant food production enterprise centre, established by a social enterprise.

Food Production Units – The Food Hub provides 26,000 sq ft of premium food production space across 14 independent work units as well as 6,000 square feet of office space.

Community Kitchen – The Food Hub houses Ireland’s first time-share production unit where emerging food businesses can produce their products in a fully equipped kitchen!

The Food Hub facilitates Food Sector Training and delivers sectoral training programmes for the food sector – from start your own food business programmes to culinary skills.

We were delighted to interview Fergal McPartland of The Food Hub for our Kus Kus Adventures of Food Entrepreneurs Irish Multiplier Event. You can watch back the interview here:

Bia Innovator Campus

BIA Innovator Campus is a step change project that will transform the food entrepreneurship landscape in the West of Ireland. Co-located at the Teagasc campus in Athenry, it addresses a seismic need for regional food workspace infrastructure and support services and creates an exceptional bundle of food production units and co-working kitchens, learning and innovation in one location.

BIA Innovator Campus offers prospective food entrepreneurs a starting point to either begin or grow their business and connect to a community of food entrepreneurs and the agencies who will support them.

We were delighted to interview Elaine Donoghue of Bia Innovator Campus for our Kus Kus Adventures of Food Entrepreneurs Irish Multiplier Event. You can watch back the interview here:

Jinny’s Bakery explores multiple routes to market

Jinny’s Bakery was established in late 2003 as a small bread making business in Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim. In the first week, Sinead Gillard made and sold 16 loaves under the Jinny’s Bakery brand. Jinny is Sinead’s nickname. From that very modest start, sales have grown to over half a million-euro annual turnover with the business employing over 10 staff. Now selling throughout the West and Dublin, the company also exports to France. 

Award winning ways

Jinny’s have won every award possible for the artisan bakery and have ambitious plans to continue their success into the future. Jinny’s Bakery product range includes cakes, scones, sourdough wholesome breads which have a strong health emphasis while maintaining superior taste and texture. Innovation is at the heart of their growth and with over 80 customers. The achievements of Pascal Gillard and his wife who together with their hard-working bakery crew have built a business with renowned impressive standards. For every one of their 15 years in business, they have achieved an increase in sales year on year. Their stout bread and carrot cake have been described as ‘vivid in flavour’. They deliver untold pleasure to the eater with their beautifully controlled crust and lovely crumb. 

Jinny’s growth is as a result of multiple routes to market

One of their most recent achievements is that three of their products – Irish Stout Bread Mix, Grace’s Granola and the Sourdough Croutons – have been included in SuperValu’s Food Academy Programme. See Jinny’s Bakery – SuperValu Listing.

Jinny’s have also been part of the Aldi #GrowwithAldi campaign

May be an image of 1 person and text that says '스 ALDI Aldi Ireland @Aldi_Ireland Look who's Growing with Aldi this Christmas! Find your favourite products in store from Sunday from our amazing Irish suppliers. In store for a limited time only. #GrowWithAldi Jinnj's Bakery Pascal & Sinead Gillard Co. Leitrim Grow with Aldi On sale SUN 15 NOV Stout Bread Mix €3.65 610g JINNY'S SARIHA TONtR READ Grow With Aldi aldi.ie'

Jinny’s also have an online shop:  Buy Online – Jinny’s Bakery & Tearoom, Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim

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Pascal and Sinead’s also opened Jinny’s Tearooms in 2019, it’s an inspired new food experience offering specialty teas and coffees, with delicious snacks, and light bites with emphasis on wholesome, local ingredients.

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Prospective food entrepreneurs can learn a lot from this dynamic duo. They embody all the key characteristics of a good entrepreneur –  hard work, determination, growth mindset, commitment to quality to name a few.

We were delighted to interview Pascal and Sinead of Jinnys Bakery for our Kus Kus Adventures of Food Entrepreneurs Irish Multiplier Event. You can watch back the interview here:

Chef Sham Hanifa is inspired by his strong culinary heritage

Shamzuri (Sham) Hanifa, a native of Malaysia, moved to Ireland over 18 years ago seeking new opportunities and experiences.  Steeped in a tradition and love of the freshest foods and inspired by his Grandmother’s flavoursome cooking, Sham started his culinary career at 12!  He has worked his way up though every stage of the catering world, from kitchen porter to head chef.   At the age of 20, his whirlwind Irish adventure began in leading restaurants in the West of Ireland. Little did he know then, that he would spent the next 18 years here, meet and marry an Irish girl, start a family, before settling in Jamestown in 2008 to open his own restaurant, the acclaimed The Cottage Restaurant. While Sham is very proud of his Malaysian roots, he feels a very strong connection to Ireland.

I say to my kids, I might not have been born in Ireland but I grew up here and in two years I will have spent half my lifetime here!

World Cuisine – Irish Food with an Asian Fusion Twist

In The Cottage Restaurant kitchen, Sham leads a passionate culinary team committed to producing contemporary Irish cuisine with an Asian fusion twist.  Using the finest local ingredients and supporting local producers, Sham has won a multitude of prestigious awards and accolades. Some of his tallies include the Good Eating Guide, Best Restaurant in Connaught, Best Chef in Connaught, Best Restaurant in Leitrim.

Sham’s Food is inspired by his Culinary Heritage

Sham’s curiosity and love of food was sparked at an early age. Growing up in Malaysia, his family nurtured a plentiful garden of fruit (goya and mangos) and vegetables (chilli, beans and yam potatoes). Ask Sham who has had inspired him the most and he will say “my Grandmother”.

Sham’s Father plays a key role in his food heritage too – so much so that he named his latest restaurant The Buffalo Boy after him – you can read that story here: Buffalo Boy — History of Award Winning Carrick-on-Shannon Steakhouse

Focus on Local – Sham values fresh local produce

From a very young age, Sham learned about the values of fresh food and can recall with fond memories going out to the garden and picking fresh ingredients with his Grandmother, then watching as she turned them into the most bountiful and tasty meals. Fast forward to today and a fine testament to what he learned from his Grandmother, Sham now grows his own ingredients for the Cottage Restaurant in a polytunnel filled with the most wondrous greens, veggies, fruits and edible flowers ripe for the picking! He also takes great care in choosing meats and ingredients from his local suppliers.

Some of Shams local suppliers – Cooperhill Farm, Sligo (Venison), Ciaran Reynolds, Butcher Carrick on Shannon (Lamb), Butcher Barry Brogan, Swalinbar. (Beef). Tina, 12 Quaill Farm, Fenagh. (Quail & Quaill Eggs) Ken Moffat- Thornhill Farm, Cavan. (Duck) Eimhear Flynn Gorvagh, Leitrim(Goat).

We were delighted to interview Sham Hanifa for our Kus Kus Adventures of Food Entrepreneurs Irish Multiplier Event.

Sligo Global Kitchen – inclusion and opportunity through food

The Sligo Global Kitchen was a project started in 2014 to create a space for people living in direct provision to cook and share food from their different cultures with others. It’s an initiative by artist Anna Spearman and is supported by The Model. At least once a month Sligo Global Kitchen host an event where everyone from the community is welcome to try food from different countries.

In 2020, SKG innovated their offering and created a socially distanced “Dine with Chef” experience. KUS Alliance Ireland members were so impressed by this that we put SKG forward as a case study for the Kus Market Toolbox!