Member Spotlight – From Newmarket kitchens blog -Rohan’s Pasta Sauce
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.
Do you have any new or exciting plans for Rohan’s Pasta sauce?
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 go and 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!