A former stock trader now based in the North West has swapped her career as a high-flying investor in the financial markets to invest in her own business, producing natural and nutritious traditional beef and chicken stock using local ingredients.
Carol Banahan is the first business client based in the new Foodovation Centre at North West Regional College in Derry, whose facilities have enabled her to expand production of her product line, Carol’s Stock Market, which has no additives or preservatives.
A native of Dublin, Carol enjoyed a successful career with the investment management arm of one of Canada’s largest banks before moving back to Ireland three years ago. She now lives in Greencastle, Co. Donegal with her husband Neil McParland from Derry who is a therapeutic radiographer at the state-of-the-art new radiotherapy unit which is scheduled to open soon at Altnagelvin Hospital.
Carol, who lived for many years in Toronto before spending six years in Vancouver, continued: “I had an entirely different life in Canada but had enough of that world. I had a burning desire to move back home to Ireland and do something different. I have always had a serious passion for food and nutrition and just under three years ago myself and my husband left everything behind to move back.
“With making such a massive life change I had to take some time to figure out what I wanted to do. I spent my time going to cookery school and learning nutrition. As I was in investment management all my career I wanted to have some credentials because I knew I would ultimately get into some kind of food business.
“I set up Carol’s Stock Market because I absolutely love making stock. I have made my own stock for many years and knew there was a gap in the market as I couldn’t get any natural stock anywhere; there are plenty of stock cubes on the market and other processed products. I thought long and hard about it and decided to give it a try. I started to do my own research and that took several months as well.”
Carol completed a certificate course at the Dublin Cookery School two years ago, and last year studied with the Irish Institute for Health and Nutrition in Wicklow, achieving an Advanced Diploma in Health and Nutrition Coaching. She also completed a Start Your Own Food Business course with the support of the Local Enterprise Office in Donegal in 2015.
“I made my first foray into selling my stock at Letterkenny Artisan Market last March. At that point I had gone through all the Environmental Health hoops and was able to produce it from my home kitchen. I did various markets including Harry’s in Bridgend. I ultimately realised this could have its limits as producing stock is a very long process; it is very much a slow food product and I decided this business won’t survive if I don’t get into a commercial grade kitchen.”
Since moving into the Foodovation Centre just over a month ago, Carol has been able to substantially upscale production in its custom built kitchen which is fitted with the latest high-tech equipment, chilling and laboratory facilities, together with product development mentoring and support.
Carol’s Stock Market – which comes in 500ml spout pouches – is available in a number of local butchers and delis, with plans for expansion nationwide. As it is freshly made, the stock has a short shelf life but can be frozen without losing any of its flavour or nutritional value.
For more information, visit www.carolsstockmarket.com.