I have been working in the Catering industry for over 15 years. I started my career in 1991 when I took part in a one-year Catering and Tourism course in Crumlin College, Dublin. I followed this course with a two-year Management course for hotels and restaurants in Cathal Brugha Catering College, Dublin. On these courses I trained in two of Dublin's finest hotels, Jury's Hotel in Ballsbridge and The Shelbourne Hotel in Stephen's Green. I travelled to Jersey and Scotland where I worked for a few years in the food and beverage industry. When I returned to Dublin I worked in a managerial position in a Dublin hotel for a few years. In 2007 I decided to focus more on the food industry, and follow my true passion which had always been baking, so in this year I attended a Food Safety, Health and Hygiene (HACCP* Certificate) course in the Institute of Technology Tallaght in Dublin. Since then, I have been working as a chef in nursing homes and care centers in Dublin and Kildare. Working in these environments I have had the opportunity not only to bake but also to create menus suited to specific dietary needs. Along with my work in the nursing homes I took part in training courses in areas such as Cooking for Coeliacs, Diabetic and Lactose-Intolerant, First Aid, Infection Control, Fire Safety.
I got the idea of home-baked gift hampers when I was working in the nursing homes. I thought of the residents there who had special dietary requirements and couldn't eat the usual baked goods such as cakes and biscuits. I became very interested in the types of food they could eat and the types of food they wanted to eat. Many of them told me about nice baked goods they remembered from their past and some shared recipes passed down from their own parents. I thought what a nice idea it would be if they had a gift hamper full of traditional baked goods that were specially made to suit their dietary requirements.