In the beginning there was a vegan with no decent vegan cheese, a bit of extra time and a gift – a power blender…….. (and the added inspiration of a husband that said he would make the final change to vegan (As a long time vegetarian) if he could have a decent vegan cheese!)
And that is where it all began. There was no plan for a business, just fun, a hubby to convert, a lot of inspiration and my newly found best friend – the vitamix ?
Vegetarian since age 16 and vegan for the past 14 years, as well as a very inspired foodie, it took me no time to start experimenting. Having educated myself extensively on nutrition over the years helped a lot, I believe food must be nutritious, delicious and add value to our meals, and this is always in my mind when creating any meal or product (except for cake…. Cake is cake… sugar flour, mmmm yum)
I was so inspired that the creating didn’t stop with cheeses (About 6 varieties at that point), I brewed all sorts of kombuchas, kefirs, other cultures, fermented veggies of all descriptions, plant yogurts, patties, bacon etc….
A few months later Jason (Hubby) suggested we make my creations into products – I point-blanc refused…. He bided his time and a few months later tried again – still no luck. With a little help from all our besties, he finally convinced me.
It was exciting! Finding the correct name, designing a logo, choosing the products to start with, packaging and labels….
About 6 months later Irene’s Gourmet was born (March 2016)! I approached a handful of shops (Very scary if you have never done it before) and they all loved my offering!
We started with 14 products. At first, I did everything myself, but it wasn’t long before we employed our first helper. This all happened from our home kitchen. Just over a year later when we had nowhere left to sit and 4 ladies working for us in our home, we realised it was time for premises. We found the perfect space and after a month of very intense renovations we moved into our beautiful factory in September 2017.
We are now a team of 16 strong. Always developing, innovating and creating – in our products and processes. We are big on girl power (14 out of 16), training and development of our team.
We love what we do, and we love that what we do inspires positive change for the planet, people’s health and animals.