Sunday 25 March 2018

Money Talks: 'My worst job was cutting bile ducts out of chicken livers...'

Television chef Louise Lennox, pictured with son Alex Photo: Fergal Phillips
Television chef Louise Lennox, pictured with son Alex Photo: Fergal Phillips
Louise McBride

Louise McBride

Louise Lennox is the well-known pastry chef from the hit TV show The Restaurant. A broadcaster and children's food expert, she has worked on numerous RTE children's television cookery shows including Grubz Up, Elev8 and The Afternoon Show. She is the co-founder of Foodoppi, an online food network for children.

What is the most important lesson about money which your career as a pastry chef has taught you?

To be diverse and explore new business opportunities. When I started working for myself, I first had a pop-up bake shop. A lot of my customers were families and as time went on, I found myself spending more time talking and engaging with their children about food. Parents then approached me asking would I start running cookery lessons for their children, which I did.

Shortly after that, I started working for children's television shows presenting and creating all the recipes for them.

What's the most expensive thing about being a parent?

Everything! I spend most of my disposable income on my son. He has had more new shoes in the past year than I've had in the past decade.

What do you find is the hardest thing financially about being self-employed?

The risk - although there are many great advantages to being self-employed.

What's your favourite Irish coin?

The old 10-pence coin with the salmon on it. My family are very creative and for my birthday, my brother Fergal cut around the fish in metalwork class in school transforming the coin into a keyring. I still have it (somewhere) to this day.

Are you better off than your parents?

Yes and no. If you look at it financially, my parents are better off as they are mortgage-free and have a beautiful house in a fantastic location. I feel lucky to be from an era when women don't have to give up their job when they get married.

Apart from property, what's the most expensive thing you have ever bought?

My honeymoon. As my husband and I met due to the snow in December 2010, it only seemed fitting that we started off our honeymoon in similar weather conditions. So we spent a week in Prague at the snowy Christmas markets and then defrosted in Thailand for three weeks.

What was your worst job?

My mother started a food business in the Eighties and was the first person in Ireland to produce Irish pate commercially. She was approached by the main buyer in Harrods food hall who had tasted her pate and was so impressed with it that he wanted it stocked in Harrods. With a tight deadline to have her order flown over to London, all the family had to help out. My job was cutting the bile ducts out of the chicken livers.

What was your biggest financial mistake?

Probably the same as half the country - buying property in the boom.

What was your best financial killing?

A 1959 Barbie - intact, in its original box.

Do you use any money-saving apps?

Never knew they existed.

Android or iPhone?

I've Apple running through my veins! iPhone.

Do you know how much is in your current account?

I've always been a saver so I've a good idea.

Have you ever made an insurance claim?


Have you ever switched utility provider?

I have and I try to switch every year.

iTunes or Spotify?

I've got Spotify as part of my phone package but I really don't use it that much. I use iTunes for buying audio books. I'm dyslexic so find it easier to listen to an audio book than reading one.

What was the last thing you bought online?

Polar dry ice. My kitchen is like a mini-lab with all the food experiments I'm doing.

Do you have a fixed, variable or tracker mortgage?

Yes, tracker.

Would you buy Irish property now?

I would, but I've just set up my new business Foodoppi so I've invested in that.

Cash or card?

Card, it's much more convenient. I don't know what cash looks like anyone.

Do you ever haggle?

The thought makes me cringe. My mum is amazing at it and will haggle over anything.

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