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Connacht Tribune

Galway chef’s recipe for success

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A London-based chef from Tuam has been awarded a whopping €395,000 to develop her street food business, alongside her partner.

It is literally a dream come true for Sinead Campbell and her partner Lee Johnson who established their pop-up food business called BBQ Dreamz four years ago.

The couple appeared on the British reality TV show ‘My Million Pound Menu’ – the equivalent of Dragon’s Den for food – and received an investment of £350,000 in their business much to their delight.

Sinead (36), who is the daughter of Dolly and the late Michael Campbell from Tuam, moved to London around twelve years ago to do her Masters Degree in Art.

She completed her Masters and went on to do an internship in the world-famous Christie’s Art Gallery before leaving that particular profession to embark on two years involved in victim support in London.

Her intention was to return to the art world in a teaching capacity – but her partner, who had worked in a number of the top restaurants, decided to diverge into street food through a series of pop-up restaurants in various parts of London.

Sinead attended Presentation College in Tuam before completing her Degree in Art (1st Class Honours) while studying in Limerick – before ending up in a whole different world.

“I suppose, when we look back, she always had an interest in cooking,” recalls proud mum Dolly who believes she inherited this trait from her late father, a former bank manager in Tuam who was also passionate about cooking.

Dolly added: “This is all great news and hopefully it is the start of a very bright future in this very competitive industry, Both Sinead and Lee are extremely hard workers and their sheer dedication has paid off.”

Both Sinead and Lee appeared on the BBC’s My Million Pound Menu, the reality show which seeks out up-and-coming food businesses and gives them the chance to secure hundreds of thousands of pounds of investment.

Last week, London-based street food trader BBQ Dreamz, which is operated by Sinead and Lee and specialises in Filipino food, triumphed and beat off stiff competition in the process.

BBQ Dreamz went on to secure a £350,000 investment (just over €395,000) from Charlie McVeigh of the Draft House pub group that he sold last year.

BBQ Dreamz is a concept inspired by the Filipino recipes Lee – born in the Philippines and raised in Northampton – learnt from his grandmother while growing up in that country, which in turn inspired a passion for the nation’s cuisine in Sinead.

The pair started BBQ Dreamz in 2014, aiming to bring Filipino food to a wider audience in London, adapting classic dishes to the lunchtime tastes of Londoners.

As with most street food stalls, customers can expect the menu to alternate a bit but among their signature dishes are grilled satay duck hearts, sticky adobo chicken wings and Lechon Kawali – 24-hour sous-vide crispy pork belly with radish, celery and coriander salad.

Connacht Tribune

Fuel for thought as we try and energise our wheels

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

A good few years back . . . well probably even decades . . . I remember asking quite a knowledgeable motoring correspondent, long gone to his eternal reward, about the pros and cons of staying with petrol or switching to diesel. By the time his reply had finished, nearly 20 minutes had elapsed, and I was avalanched with so much data that I was no wiser at the end of the conversation than I was at the start.

I thought of that a few weeks before Christmas when I happened to tune in to a programme on Channel 4 – Dispatches – which examined the practicalities of owning and driving an electric car across the roads of the United Kingdom.

There is a wish amongst all of us to pursue a more environmentally friendly way of life. At this stage, we all probably know someone who has purchased a fully electric car and certainly many more who have dipped their toes into the waters of the hybrid models.

Anyway, the main theme of the Dispatches programme was that after 10-years of investment by the UK authorities in the infrastructure needed to support electric cars, quite a shocking number of charging points were either out of action or were not working to their full efficiency.

Nearly 10% of the ‘rapid chargers’ sampled across the UK were found not to be working properly, while 30 new ultra-rapid charges were also found to be dysfunctional to varying degrees. Some of the charging points had been out of action for six years and a percentage of those were unrepairable as their technology base was now obsolete.

Apart from their significant extra cost – even if one qualifies for the maximum €5,000 Government grant – the great fear I would have with the electric cars is that I’d find myself marooned in a corner of Kerry or Antrim, out of ‘juice’, and unable to access a charging point.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Covid boosts college coffers

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NUI Galway

NUI Galway reported an operating surplus of almost €19 million during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic when its campus was closed for months.

The healthy finances reported by NUIG has prompted its student body to call for it to waive repeat exams’ fees and student levies, and to invest in mental health services.

Consolidated financial statements for NUIG for the year ended September 30 2020 show the university reported an operating surplus of €18.9 million. This was up by €16 million on the surplus generated in 2019.

The financial statement said that while Covid-19 was ‘extremely challenging’, the ‘extraordinary dedication and work ethic of its staff have mitigated against the financial impact’ of the year.

The report said a surplus of €18.9 million was a ‘commendable performance’ given that 95%  of staff and students withdrew from campus in March 2020 to study and work remotely in line with Government regulations.

It noted that core income fell by a net €4 million compared with the previous year.

“Drops in research income of €9m and a Covid-related decline in commercial and student accommodation income of some €5m were offset by increased fee income of €4m, a €3m increase in the fair value of investments, and other increases of €3m relating to Government grants and other income,” the report said.

It said that the increase in Government grants includes Covid Support grant funding from the Higher Education Authority to cover additional specific Covid-19 related costs of €2.2m.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

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Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or  HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Farm buildings can be used as business hubs in rural areas

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Cllr. Declan Geraghty (Ind)

RURAL farm buildings should be utilised for small business enterprises which would supplement the income of landowners as well as creating some local employment in the process.

This was the view of the vast majority of Galway councillors who passed a motion that buildings directly relating to farming be considered for other purposes that would be financially advantageous to the owners.

The matter came up for discussion at a meeting of the Galway County Development Plan when it was suggested that the farming community needed to be allowed develop small business opportunities.

A motion from Cllr. Declan Geraghty (Ind) – deviating slightly from Galway County Council policy – proposed that they be allowed carry out businesses such as the servicing and repair of machinery, land reclamation, drainage works, and agricultural contracting was carried.

The motion added that this be allowed where it is financially advantageous to locate in a given area and where it would not have an adverse impact on the environment.

The Williamstown councillor said that it could result in hundreds of small business enterprises being developed out of farm buildings.

“At the moment they cannot get planning permission for such enterprises given that they are located in a rural area,” he argued.

He was supported by Cllr. Pete Roche (FG) who went further by saying that even the establishment of pet farms or animal farms that could be opened up to the public were also options that could be considered.

“There are farm families at the moment who cannot earn a decent living out of agriculture alone and would relish the opportunity to diversify,” he added.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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