Aiming to inspire
The Early Days…
Clara Cooks was created from a place of love and passion for cooking with good food and bringing people together.
From an early age, founder Clara has memories of family, closeness and always a smell of food in the house! She remembers standing on a chair next to her Mum while they cooked and baked in the kitchen. From the freshly baked bread, every morning to the home-cooked dinners made with local produce to the weekend cakes for when the relatives visited her memories of food it was all about connections and love.
Her Dad would come in from work and as a family, they would all sit together having a home-cooked meal connecting as a family. A very important part of the day for all the family.
Claras Great Grandfather had an organic vegetable farm and her Grandfather was head baker at one of the oldest bakeries in Cork, Ireland. Both her grandmothers were also great cooks and that was definitely carried through the family genes. Cooking has always been a big part of life for Clara from family to friends to health to connecting
Claras Food Journey…
Although Claras had a huge passion for food and cooking her life took her down the HR path and she worked in this industry for many years.
Clara moved to New Zealand and then onto Australia for 8 years where her love of food and exploring different cuisines grew even further, she spent many a weekend away at some of Australias best cookery schools developing her skills.
Clara also spent 3 months in Asia, travelling around experiencing wonderful cuisines in peoples homes and restaurants.
Throughout the years Clara loved sharing her food with friends and family, dinner parties were a regular occurrence in her house and she always felt that love and care could be expressed so much with food. For Clara food was not just about the meal but how it brought people together.
After Clara returned home to Ireland she fell back into corporate HR life and got the opportunity to travel the world and again experience some wonderful cuisines across Europe, UK and USA.
Although happy in her career her thoughts always came back to creating a business that would allow others to embrace the joy of food and cooking as she did.
In 2019 Clara took a leap of faith and left her corporate career to turn her passion for food and cooking into a career.
Ballymaloe Cookery School… Written by Clara
I packed my bags and headed down to live on the farm at Ballymaloe Cookery School.
I lived with 6 other food enthusiasts in a lovely cottage on the farm. The school is situated on Darina and Tim Allens farm, they also live on the land there.
It was an intense 12 weeks, a huge learning curve not just from a cooking perspective but about farm life, living off the land, growing your own food and using the best produce.
The days began early, 6 am rise with various farm chores to be completed before getting to the kitchen. I could be out picking the salad and herbs which also included cleaning and preparing for the 60 students needs that morning. I could be making the large pots of veg and chicken stock needed. I could be down at the dairy helping with the vats of milk and yoghurt needed. There was also the opportunity to go to the bread shed at 6 am to practice our sourdough making under the watchful eye of Tim Allen who knows everything and anything about making bread!
We would head to the kitchen for 8am, with our list of ingredients you need to prepare for the days cooking. Every week I had a different cooking partner and moved through different kitchens and with different teachers. Your station was your responsibility, prepping, cooking, presenting and cleaning.
Our teachers would arrive in at 9am and would give us instructions for the morning and then we would get started with our dishes. The teachers are fantastic there, so much support and patience with all the students!! We had approx 3 hours to get all our food cooked and plate up to get reviewed and tested. You would be marked and advised on each dish.
A quick lunch to enjoy all the food made that morning and then into the demo room. Rory O’Connell, Rachel and Darina Allen would give the majority of demos to us with help of the other chefs at the school. We would need to take notes and understand every aspect of the dishes as the following morning we were expected to be able to cook some of these.
The evenings were spent with my housemates, there was always some form of cooking happening. We also had to study, file away all of our recipes in order and prepare for the following day.
Monday to Friday was non stop, but we got to recharge at weekends and prepare again for the following week.
After the 12 week training and the intensive exam week, I got the opportunity to stay on working there to gain further experience and put my training into practice. It was wonderful to be able to be on the other side helping students, doing recipe testing, assisting the teachers, working on demos to name but a few.
I knew what I wanted to do with my business, I had already started the business plan and had spoken to Darina about my ideas. It was then all about getting everything in place to set up the business. The core element of my business is about food education, to be able to help and teach people in their own homes about good food and how wonderful it can be to cook from the heart.
Making my Passion a Business
Claras business is all about bringing the passion of food into the homes of her clients. Educating you in your own environment about everything and anything food.
She first has an online consultation with you about your needs and from there she designs bespoke tailor-made services just for you.
This can be anything from reorganising your kitchen, creating private one-one cooking classes in your home, creating group private classes in your home for a fun evening, designing and planning meals for special occasions, creating a fabulous supper club at your house as a private chef. Clara also does a number of group online demos cooking different cuisines and dishes where you can join in and cook along.
Learn more about her services here
On top of this Clara started a podcast Cork Food Stories which is produced by RedFM where she interviews some of Corks wonderful Suppliers and Producers. She also writes for a local paper The Carrigdhoun, giving the readers tips and recipes on a monthly basis.