Meet our food champions...

Yvonne Carty

I didn’t realise what we had until I went out and looked for it. By creating networks we can promote the provenance of our good, clean food and get more people using it; this is modern Irish cuisine.

Yvonne Carty

Contact details

Twitter: @HeyPestoie
Facebook: Hey Pesto!

Yvonne Carty

Portrait of Yvonne CartyAccidental food fanatic | Tullamore, Offaly

How does a vegetarian chemical engineer, hailing from a midlands town, working in the state gas company and believing she “never needed to know how to cook, eating out was far easier”, transform into an entrepreneur running a successful catering company and championing local food?

It is something that Yvonne Carty cannot quite explain. Without quite realising it, she started taking an interest in cookery books and recipes. Then about 12 years ago, while living and working as an engineer in Dublin, she needed a break from the city and decided to do a one week course at Ballymaloe Cookery School – something that for her at the time was “a strange choice”. The experience was transformative.

She turned her back on engineering and undertook a full time certificate course at Ballymaloe, deciding she wanted to make a livelihood from food. Fast forward to the present day and you find her back home in Tullamore running ‘Hey Pesto’ catering company and teaching cookery classes, “I just want people to cook”.

She also discovered she had a “latent pride” for Offaly, with its rich farmland and produce, and began to see her business as a chance to showcase local producer. She is a founder and chairperson of ‘Offaly Delicious’, a network of local food businesses promoting the area’s food, and she established the ‘Offaly Delicious’ food producers market which runs weekly in Tullamore and celebrated its first birthday in April 2015.

Through her involvement with the local tourism strategy, Yvonne tries to put food centre stage and hopes to develop a food trail for the area. She also has a food blog and can be found talking and demoing at festivals and events around the country.