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The Business of Food – Tracie Daly, Food Business Coach

Tracie Daly has been operating as a Food Business Coach, ​Tracie Daly At Your Service​, for the last 3 years. Tracie consults, mentors, guides, teaches, is a recipe writer, create social media content, look at operational systems, waste management and menu design among other things. I get to assist my clients at all stages of their development, from start-ups to established businesses. It’s a collaboration that ensures sustainable growth. “I become their silent business partner. Brutally honest, and solution focused. The most valuable lesson I’ve learnt from COVID-19 is that I can still achieve incredible strides with my clients even from a distance.”

My Culinary Journey

I grew up in a wild house, alongside three brothers and three sisters, and have fond childhood memories as a little girl making mud cakes in my back garden. Our house was busy and always full of utterly delicious food that was made from scratch by my mother, who taught me so much of what I know. Our back garden was bursting at the seams with fresh produce – plum trees, apple trees, pear trees, gooseberry bushes, strawberries, and tomatoes. Needless to say, we always ate well. The culinary heritage still forms a huge part of who we all are today.

In my final year (the vast majority of which was all theory based) of a four year course studying Hotel & Catering Management in Cathal Brugha street, I had real yearning to get back into the kitchen – I really missed cooking. From a very young age I’d always dreamt of having my own café. So, I signed up to a three-month intensive course at the world renowned Ballymaloe Cookery School with my good friend, Trish. What a journey it was. It gave me everything I wanted and had been looking for. It was fast-paced and intensive. Living on a farm as a city slicker was definitely a culture shock but I absolutely loved every minute.

Living The Dream – Running My Own Café

After the course, I set up my dream café, named The Two Dames Coffee Boutique, with my sister, Lavinia in our home city of Kilkenny. Our customers were beautiful, loyal, and generous. I grew with the needs of my customers and, as a result, we were fortunate to have won many awards.

Unfortunately, the recession then hit and bit us in the arse. After closely monitoring the business’s decline over eight months, we knew the footfall was decreasing. The minimum spend per head was dropping, and people all around us were suffering. Kilkenny is a small city, so we could not sustain the consistent slow decline. With broken hearts, we closed the doors and I returned to my favourite 100-acre organic farm, Ballymaloe, as a Senior Tutor at the cookery school.

Working At the World Renowned Ballymaloe Cookery School

While there I helped to recipe test and recipe write on multiple cookery books. I taught fabulous students from across the globe and travelled all over Ireland assisting Darina Allen, Rory O’Connell, and Rachel Allen with demos at various different events. I also set up, ran andtrained the Summer Food Truck teams, who subsequently went on to win ‘Best Food Truck 2019’.

During my time there, the cookery school was like a revolving door of the who’s who of culinary royalty. I got to work alongside some of the world’s top chefs including the likes of Yotam Ottolenghi, Samuel Scully, Diana Kennedy, Jeremy Lee, Christian Puglisi, Sunil Ghai, David Tannis, René Redzepi, Paul Flynn, Claire Ptak, Honey & Co, Tomasina Myers, Francis Mallmann, and Sandor Katz to name but a few. I was living the dream and it was a thoroughly rewarding time for me.

Becoming A Food Business Coach

On leaving Ballymaloe I wanted to take a different path. I backed myself to make use of all of the skills I’d honed in running my own business and teaching at the cookery school to become a self employed Food Business Coach. My goal was simple; to help food businesses running the length and breadth of the country to achieve success both in the kitchen and front of house.

I wake up ready to do what I love every day. I listen and help my clients to improve and increase their trade and that reward is immense for me. I now see that I needed someone like me when my first business was struggling. My life lessons have made me into a straight-talking solution-focused fixer. I feel incredibly lucky to do what I do – it is the most rewarding career I have ever had as I am completely driven by constantly being challenged.

Some of my lovely clients include…

The Espresso Bar, Kilkee

I joined Judi after her first season, where I created a bespoke menu that complimented what she set out to achieve – a quirky café. I reviewed and implemented new systems, reviewed her food waste, and created bespoke solutions that ensured she was no longer binning her profits. And, as a result, saw her profits improve even within the first week. We review her menu and adjust things regularly. We create bespoke offerings frequently to ensure Judi stays ahead of the competition. I test and write recipes and create social media content to compliment this so that she can run campaigns to promote her product offering. Judi is a visionary. We are working on the long game and let me tell you, you ain’t seen nothing yet!

Muse – Butler Gallery, Kilkenny

From the very early concept stages for the café, I collaborated with Muse’s owner, Sharon, to create an offering that represented her and her vision. I created systems and SOP’s, fine-tuned food styling and imagery and bespoke seasonal offerings. Sharon is fearless, so her enthusiasm and will to create something special is truly energising. And soon her heated glass pods will be open to offer exciting foodie opportunities to Kilkenny locals and those from further afield, all going well.

Domo’s Emporium at Newbridge Silverware

A very exciting venture where I helped create an Irish only Food Hall while COVID-19 was wreaking havoc, so a lot of remote work was carried out. Dominic Doyle, the gentleman behind Domo’s has created such an impressive result but we’re not finished yet. We can’t wait to bring even more to the people of Newbridge, and when the restrictions are lifted, we can welcome more from further afield. What an exciting thought that is!

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