Newmarket kitchens blog -Rohan’s Pasta Sauce

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!

Boxing Smart

Stephen Coughlan is a Bray boxer, now residing in Greystones. Stephen is a former Irish Squad member and an all Ireland finalist. Currently he coaches in the Four Kings boxing club in Greystones!

My Own Experience in Sport

As with almost all Irish people I have always been interested in sport and as a chef nutrition was always high on my agenda. I played rugby until I got on to the under 18s and realised I really didn’t like being in pain all the time.  Then at the age of 21, I took up archery and went on to compete for Ireland at 3 world championships through my 20s. I never had a proper coach and looking back I know I neglected my nutrition, which was the one aspect I should have known all about.  I knew I needed high quantities of protein and carbs for muscle and energy, but it was always guesswork and never properly worked out.

The Four Kings

When a friend of mine Stephen Coughlan set up his own boxing club, I was delighted to help him out with some sponsorship and also ended up doing the occasional training session down with his club the “Four Kings” based in Greystones.

Stephen took up boxing in the Bray boxing club at the age of 11 and trained alongside many famous teammates through the years.  Stephen showed a great aptitude for the sport but never excelled at it until the age of 23 when he was finally diagnosed as a coeliac, suddenly with the correct food plan for his body, he had more energy, more strength and more stamina.

Stephen got called up to the Irish squad on a number of occasions, but through unfortunate events such as the ashcloud, combined with a number of injuries, Stephen never managed to fight internationally for Ireland. It must be so hard looking at boxers you have beaten in the past, as they fight at the olympics, while you sit at home with an injury.

Stephen was delighted when I brought out Rohan’s Sauce as not only was it a super low calorie yet nutritious sauce, but also contained no gluten. Stephen told me  “I wish this was around when I was competing, it would have been a tasty and healthy addition to my diet and as its so quick to make, it would have fitted in well with my busy training plan.”

Nowdays Stephen is putting his energy and talent into training the next generation of Irish boxers! Hopefully I can give him some help on his way, his passion and energy for the sport is infectious and his ability and knowledge is unquestionable.  I hope the people of Greystones know how lucky they are to have him there!