Zanna shares recipe for success with celebrity chef Neven
Celebrity chef Neven Maguire and his film crew travelled to Carne, County Wexford to investigate the recipe for success at Zanna Cookhouse which recently won two gold and two silver Blas na hEireann awards for their products. Zanna run by Owen and Lorna Mullins and their son David, netted gold for the famous Zanna Asparagus and Wexford Cheddar Quiche and the Simply Better Chicken Liver Pate for Dunnes Stores. Silver awards were presented for the Zanna Goats Cheese, Spinach and Sun-Kissed Tomato Quiche and the Simply Better Irish Ham and mature Irish Cheddar Quiche.
Impressed by the family-run company's commitment to taste, RTE television chef Nevin Maguire came to Wexford to see for himself what all the fuss is about and was filmed assisting Owen in making a quiche for a cookery feature which will be broadcast early next year.
Zanna Cookhouse has carved out a niche for quiche, producing four different flavours of the dish and five flavours of pie, also making pate, soups and desserts on a smaller scale as well as a collection of products for the Dunnes Stores Simply Better artisan food range. Owen believes the use of high quality ingredients helps the Zanna products stand out, with some of the recipes based solely on the availability of local produce.
Owen could never have imagined the success that was in store when he enrolled in Ballymaloe Cookery School for a three-month course in 2006 after leaving his job in the transport industry, and working for a time with Kevin Dundon at Dunbrody House. He credits his wife Lorna with giving him the support and encouragement needed to realise his dream of becoming a chef and working in the food industry.
Zanna first offered food for sale at the Farmers' Market in Wexford on Friday, May 11 2007. At the time Owen was still working in Dunbrody House and had no idea the enterprise would grow to employ a team of 12 people.
'We were very lucky to be involved with a Bord Bia cluster group early on, whereby a number of local producers got together to provide trnasport to shops in Dublin. Financially, we were assisted by County Wexford Enterprise Board,' he said.
'It was a bit of a challenge talking to supermarkets sometimes. Everything seemed to be price-orientated but the ones with vision could see that people wanted quality food, free from all the additives and preservatives,' said Owen.
'The biggest challenge for Zanna Cookhouse has got to be trying to match availability of capital to our rate of growth'.