John Crowe has travelled around the world as a chef, serving gourmet cuisine to presidents, VIPs, and even a former James Bond. But when it came to launching his own business, Carrick Foods, John decided to keep things simple. Carrick Foods has two signature products: a moist and moreish Stout City loaf, made with buttermilk and dates, and a fresh, velvety dill and lemon cured salmon. Such traditional fare might seem surprising for an award-winning chef with more than 35 years’ gastronomic experience but take one bite and you’ll appreciate the expertise and craft that goes into every batch.
The Stout City loaf is inspired by the traditional wheaten bread John’s mother and grandmother used to make back home on the family farm in County Tipperary. It’s given a LegenDerry twist with its use of our very own Foyster Stout and is delicious served with a simple slather of butter and a cup of tea, or some of the cured salmon. John sources each side of salmon from Donegal Prime Fish, cures it for four days (turning every 12 hours) before covering it in dill, and carefully hand carves each slice. “Our motto is ‘Our craft, our hands, your table,” says John. “Food is all about sharing. It brings people together and connects us with the land.”
His journey has now come full circle culminating in the creation of these bespoke artisan food creations under the Carrick Foods brand reminding him that food is rooted in traditions, flavours & family. In essence – “Bringing Home to Your Table.”
John had worked with Foodovation in October 2019 to develop the gravlax and wheaten bread concepts for the business. This involved recipe standardisation, packaging development, labelling skills and production methods and processes for food production.
After looking at trends and the rise in eating occasions, John wanted to develop an ambient stable remoulade product to add to a kit pack with the gravlax and wheaten bread.
John wanted support to develop a celeriac remoulade for kit packs as well as a retail product particularly exploring an ambient stable version. This longer shelf-life product would enable the brand to grow in the condiments sector and allow collaboration with other local artisans further enhancing the food sector in NI. It would also allow a route to explore online sales.
To assist and make their idea a reality Carrick Foods contacted Northwest Regional College (NWRC) Business Support Centre (BSC) who supported them through the InnovateUs programme which is funded by Department for the Economy.
NWRC Product Development Technical Consultant, Rita O’Kane, provided upskilling in recipe development of ambient stable sauce through the use of PH and acidity, functional ingredients particularly an ambient stable sauce, production method and processing for an ambient stable sauce and product labelling for Health claims. We also revisited the core products Gravlax and wheaten bread for a relaunch following the pandemic.
The company was able to successfully develop an Ambient stable Celeriac remoulade which it hopes to launch in the near future alongside with the gravlax and wheaten bread products successfully relaunched.
John Crowe, Owner of Carrick Foods described the benefits of working with NWRC’s Business Support Centre via the InnovateUs & Innovation Voucher programmes:
‘’The support I received from Rita in Foodovation was brilliant in moving my products to be ready for the retail market. I have now stocked the gravlax and wheaten bread products in 4 local shops in Derry, Claudy and Limavady and recently just launched the wheaten bread in a Dry mix format with the remoulade to follow in the near future. I would encourage anyone with a food idea to get in touch with the Foodovation for exceptional technical support.’’