Darina Allen Launches Online Business Following Cookery School Closure

By Dave Simpson
Darina Allen Launches Online Business Following Cookery School Closure

Celebrity chef Darina Allen has launched an online business and expanded a food retail offering following the closure of her Ballymaloe Cookery School due to COVID-19.

Allen said that her business has been able to retain 29 of the 55 staff it employed pre-COVID-19 crisis by expanding an existing Ballymaloe shop into a food only outlet and establishing a local version of online platform NeighbourFood, through which people can purchase locally-produced food.

"Desperation Has Its Advantages"

The Irish Times quotes Allen as saying, "I started off making pots of jam for a farm shop and it is funny how it has come back almost full circle.

"Desperation has its advantages. Our backs were against the wall and you have to start to think in a different way. If what it takes is setting up a stall at your gate to sell a few things, then you do it to get some cash flow and you just get on with it.

"We couldn't be prouder of our team and how they have risen to the challenge. We have managed to make enough each week to pay the wages so that we wouldn’t be losing money. That didn’t happen for the first couple of weeks, but I think we can more or less break even now."


Hoping For July Reopening

Allen added that she hopes that her cookery school will be able to reopen at the end of July, saying, "If we have to halve our numbers, there will be enough in that. You keep trying to roll with the punches and keep praying everyone will stay well."

© 2020 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.