Could you tell us a bit about the history of ChanChan so far?
The Chan Chan range of Sauces & Condiments has been around now for about four years. It started off with Hong Kong Street Sauce which I developed after my trips to see my family in HK. Since then I have developed the range to ten products with the tenth being Black Garlic Peanut Rayu’s (Chinese Chilli Oil) and Black Garlic Soya that will be available this year.
Why is using Irish ingredients important to your company?
For a number of reasons. After years of being a head chef in a number of establishments I know the importance of supporting local suppliers.
With Chan Chan I wanted to give an authentic Asian flavoured product but with as many locally sourced fresher ingredients as Possible a good example will be our Purple Shiso Vinegar that we get from David Hefferan (little cress company) and we grow it in an allotment for our Vinegar. It's a beautiful product.
What is the biggest challenge that you face as a food producer in Ireland?
I would say the pressures on cost, quality and meeting customer demand, as competition in the retail market is cut throats when your starting. Buyers driving the price down on your product, where it will have an effect on the quality of the final product, so you need to learn how say no a lot, if the deal is not right.
Its also vital that you find a payment structure in with the companies you deal with as some are not great at paying, which will have an effect on your cashflow for keeping your production schedules going to your supply chain and on our end to keep your suppliers happy.
What new trends do you see that are emerging in your industry?
With the restrictions on dining indoors at the moment I feel that the move to get mobile has never been greater. I am seeing some great innovation from the industry with food trailers and pop-ups. I have just bought a food trailer and am having it commissioned to suit our concept at the moment.
Are there any major changes you would like to see in your industry?
I would like to see the industry as a whole supporting our artisan Producers even more so then ever as in the last year its being very tough for them as most restaurants are closed and there are so much amazing products that we would like them to stay and grow in this country.
What has running your own business taught you?
Firstly the difference between being an employee and an entrepreneur. There is no safety net when you open your own business.
Secondly, I have made so many mistakes over the years and its great to make them but learn from it, , so you learn very fast as it costs for mistakes and some could cause your business if its a big one, take time in planning and talk it over with a mentor that has done it before, have a plan in place were you want to be in 5 years with your businesses and diversify, exploring different areas has taught me a lot in the last year through the pandemic.
Who are some other Irish foodie brands you draw inspiration from?
Fingal Ferguson! Gubeen Cheese, butcher, master Knifes craftsman what an amazing talent and a gent there is not stopping this guy,
What’s next for the company?
I will be developing Recipe Boxes based on my Chan Chan range of products which will link to the videos on chanchan.ie/recipes.
At the same time I hope to have the food trailer up and going in the m]next few months, so if anyone has some space in your carparks and would like to get something going with a our food concept… please get in touch ! :)
You can find out more about Chan Chan on at chanchan.ie