Lets Celebrate Women – Inspirational Women for International Women’s Day

It is a question I am often asked, who inspires me? Over the years there have been plenty of inspirational women who I have tried to model myself on, some I have worked closely with and some I just quietly admire from afar.

My Ballymaloe Cookery School days are a distant memory now but all of the women below, who inspire me have been through the course (or set it up in Darina’s case) in Cork, Southern Ireland. It is a fantastic course that instils in you a love for food and an appreciate for home grown, quality produce. Anyone having who has been to Ballymaloe will below gush with passion when remembering fond times spent in the stunning herb gardens and beautiful kitchens.

In my role I am always learning, having started Social Pantry when I was 25 means an endless journey of learning from my mistakes, at times when it is difficult, I turn to the people that inspire me to keep me going and remember back to my Ballymaloe days. Their drive and passion for food is what shines through and keeps you remembering what’s important….good food!

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Thomasina Miers

Image via thomasinamiers Instagram

Having opened two restaurants in my early London days, I understand what it takes to successfully open a chain of restaurants, it is far harder than anyone can imagine. After listening to Thomasina at a Virgin Business Talk a couple of years ago, I was completely inspired by her passion and loved the story about the beginnings Wahaca and how she has built the chain. Her love of food shines through and has directed her journey since gap year travels in Mexico. The business ethos and vibe is relaxed, innovative and all-round impressive.

The great news is that Thomasina has just released her 7th book, Home Cook to help us all feel a little more wonderful when cooking at home.

‘From the word go we wanted to create a fun, innovative business that would be as sustainable as possible so we opened our doors recycling everything from our menus, cardboard, glass and food waste’

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Rachel Allen & Darina Allen

Image via Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

When studying at Ballymaloe I was lucky enough to not only have Rachel Allen as a teacher but Darina herself taught my course too. These two brilliant women are simply fantastic, not only did Darina start the prestigious Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland but has helped shape the Farmers Market Movement in Ireland as well as support local schools and assist with food education for children.

One word I would use to describe Ballymaloe is simply, magical, it is the most wonderful place, full of lush herb garden, gorgeous cottages and it even boasts a shell house. Having started teaching her first students in her own kitchen Darina has successfully grown a fantastic, world renowned, business. She is a true inspiration and her work ethic and food ethos is something I aspire to.

‘Darina Allen established Ballymaloe Cookery School in 1983 with her brother Rory O’Connell.  Author of over 10 books and presenter on 6 Television series, her main passion and her daily task is to impart her knowledge to the students at the Ballymaloe Cookery School’

More on Ballymaloe

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Joey O’Hare

Image via Josephine’s cooking

I only met Joey recently at the brilliant Polka Pants new collection celebration, however, her passion totally struck me. We were only having a natter about butter but her passion and knowledge shone through, I was completely inspired and wanted to run home and learn more about the butter I was eating.  Having been to Ballymaloe herself we were able to reminisce about the wonderful days, no doubt her food is just as fantastic as her stunning Instagram too! Fingers crossed a Supper Club collaboration is in the pipeline.

‘Hare on the Hill celebrates fresh seasonal ingredients, the joy of mindful cooking, the wonders of flavour, and the pleasure of eating well in great company. I believe a vegcentric way of eating is a brilliant thing’

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