ellie's kitchen home edition
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TheTaste.ie Producer’s Row Spotlight with Taste of Dublin: Ellie’s Kitchen Home Edition

An inspiring story led to the creation of these delicious hot sauces! Ellie Kisyombe, a Malawian woman passionate about cooking and all things food, sought asylum in Ireland years ago and has now become a successful, award-winning activist, businesswoman and chef. We had a chat with Ellie about her journey in Ireland and how she came about starting Ellie’s Kitchen Home Edition.

This producer spotlight is part of our series for the brands that will be highlighted at TheTaste.ie Producer’s Row with Taste of Dublin. These producers will be present during the festival, so make sure to come along and try them out. You can purchase tickets here, and learn more about the Producer’s Row here

ellie's kitchen home edition

Have you always had a great love of food?

Yes! I grew up around women who loved to cook – my mum and my auntie were the best cooks! My mother kind of did home cooking a lot and ventured into food business, then my auntie took it broader into commercial cooking and modernised it further. After my mum’s death, I lived with my auntie, who made me see things differently and mentored me into becoming a cook too.

Can you tell me about your own background in the food industry?

I moved over to Ireland many years back and found my way to seek asylum. After I managed to seek asylum, I got myself into direct provision, which caters for asylum seekers while they are waiting for their cases to be processed. During this period, I was deprived a right to food access, cooking, making food choices… and that’s when I came to appreciate more of food, when that basic human right was taken from me and many other people that were in this system; missing homemade meals contributed to my love of food.

ellie's kitchen home edition

What inspired you to set up your business? Did you notice a gap in the market?

Of course, there was a huge gap of food diversity when I started my business. Ireland is a country of migration – its food migrated due to its history of famine. I was not sure why in Malawi, where I was born, potatoes were called Irish potatoes, but I definitely knew Ireland needed more diversity in its culinary market.

How did you set up the business and how has it been growing over time?

At first, I set up a charity called Our Table Dublin, which was the first migrant kitchen that was used to integrate asylum seekers and to advocate for asylum seekers’ right to be able to make their own meals. At that time, I was not able to get employed as the law of Ireland did not allow it, so we used the platform to integrate and give opportunities to people that spent many years in the Direct Provision system, and for those that were coming to Ireland to seek better opportunities.

ellie's kitchen home edition

Is this your first time taking part in Taste of Dublin?

No, this is not my first time taking part in Taste of Dublin. I was here in 2021 where my Charity Our Table Dublin partnered with Taste of Dublin.  

Do you have anything special planned for your stand at Taste of Dublin?

Yes, I am hoping to have a hot sauce competition where people will try my hottest sauce and can win a box to take home!

Where do you source the ingredients used to make your product(s)?

I have a company here in Ireland that source my raw materials from Kenya – it works for my product as they are African inspired sauces.

ellie's kitchen home edition

Can you tell me about some of the benefits associated with your product(s)?

They are vegan and gluten free. Also, hot sauce has been proven to be a food medicine for generations.

How important has social media been for you in spreading the word?

My social media has been a key for PR, Marketing and communication.

What makes your product unique?

Its different to the rest of its kind – it has a generational hidden recipe with Malawian undertones.

Where can people get your product?

I have them online on my site, in private shops and I go around markets where I do in person sales.

Can you tell me some of the chefs and restaurants using your produce?

My Malawian Chiwaya Chips, Chicken wings, and Peri Peri chicken, all of which you can find it in my local food store at 55A Prussia Street, Grangegorman, D07X3H0.

Are there any other small Irish food producers you admire?

Over the years I have met a lot of interesting people and producers, such as Harry’s Nut Butter of Fumbally cafe as well as Ballymaloe, who also inspired me even more after I attended the food certificate course which was given to me free by Darina Allen.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced since going into business?

Challenges I have found is breaking into markets.

ellie's kitchen home editionellie's kitchen home edition

What do you feel is your biggest achievement to date with this business?

Being able to continue in business while things got too tough.

Could you ever have imagined doing anything else with your life?

No, I wouldn’t see myself doing anything other than food being the core of anything. Food is my life! Food is everything I live for – even if I die cooking, even if it was in the hardest moments, if it has to do with food then know that I died happy.

What does the future hold for your business?

Being here and continuing to cook is the greatest thing I have. I know the future is so bright – I keep cooking and everything keeps falling into place. Food is life, food is environment, food is our everyday living, food breaks the barriers, food is diversity and food is culture as it is politics too.

ellie's kitchen home edition

Whether you want to learn chef skills from the best, shake your way through a cocktail masterclass, transport yourself to a tapas bar in sunny Spain or find a fellow food lover to feast with, there is plenty to see, do and devour at Taste of Dublin.

TheTaste.ie is now sponsoring the Producer’s Row at Taste of Dublin 2023. The producers featured this year are:

  • Open Hive
  • Kylemore Farmhouse Cheese
  • Ellie’s Kitchen Home Edition
  • Coconut & Moo Moo
  • Stinky & Scorchy
  • Nana’s Tea
  • Dublin Hills Goats Cheese
  • SuperOat
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