Sunday 17 November 2019

From banker to baker with a Delicious €1m sales target

LOUISE McBRIDE

The jump from a busy London trading floor to a gluten-free bakery seems like one hell of a leap -- yet this is exactly what Cork woman Denise O'Callaghan did five years ago.

In the mid-Nineties, O'Callaghan worked as an investment banker in London with what was then Swiss Bank Corporation, now UBS. After five years there, she moved to an Italian bank in Dublin, where she worked for seven years in asset management.

In 2007, she packed all that in to set up the Delicious gluten-free bakery.

"At the time, people thought I was crazy to give up investment banking -- but look at that profession now," said O'Callaghan.

"I always wanted to set up my own business. I grew up in a family where they were all in that mindset. I even had my own business teaching piano lessons when I was 16."

O'Callaghan decided to set up Delicious after her father had been diagnosed a coeliac.

"I could see the products in the market for coeliacs were dreadful -- and there was a gap in the market for someone who could give a tasty alternative," said O'Callaghan.

"People with allergies and food restrictions just want to be able to eat a regular diet like everyone else. My mother and grandmother were bakers -- so we tweaked a lot of our recipes to make them gluten-free."

O'Callaghan started off selling her gluten-free products from her own bakery and shop. She now sells through most of the major supermarkets, including Dunnes Stores, Tesco and Supervalu.

"We've just launched a gluten-free gateaux range, which includes a coffee cake and chocolate fudge cake -- they're absolutely flying," said O'Callaghan.

She hopes to hit a sales target of €1m this year.

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