7th MAY 2020 - Page 53



BUSINESS
FARMWEEK
FEBRUARY 07 2019
53
BELOW: Celebrity chef Paula
McIntyre is leading the Slow
Food movement in Northern
Ireland.
FW
INTERVIEW
SAM BUTLER talked
to American food
entrepreneur Emily
McCorkell about her
innovative Lo&Slo
sauces business in
Derry
ABOVE: Emily developed the sauces
with help from the team at Derry’s
innovative Foodovation Centre at the
North West Regional College.
ABOVE: Derry is a vibrant
food hub.
RIGHT: The two unique Americanstyle BBQ sauces launched at the
popular Slow Food Festival in Derry
proved to be a success.
(Picture courtesy of TourismNI).
RIGHT: Lo&Slo logo.
Emily is driving fast to success
with slow food and smart ideas
Foodovation is
a marvellous
operation and
has helped me
to turn my ideas
into commercial
products. It
provides excellent
facilities for me
in the production
of the sauces.
The advice I’ve
received – and
continue to receive
– from expert staff
there is invaluable.
ABOVE: Emily launched two
unique American-style BBQ
sauces at the popular Slow
Food Festival in Derry.
E
NTHUSIASTIC ‘foodie’
Emily McCorkell has
brought her passion
for barbecued and
grilled food from her
birthplace in Pennsylvania to
her home in Derry.
And Emily’s love of grilled
food has led her to set up
an increasingly successful
small business, Lo&Slo, to
develop a range of authentic
American smoked BBQ
sauces and dry rubs for
enhancing meat flavours in
particular.
Born in Philadelphia,
Emily graduated from the
University of Missouri,
worked in California and
then volunteered to mentor
teenagers in Derry on what
she intended to be a short
stint.
She arrived in the city
in 2005 to work with the
youngsters, subsequently
met Norman, a local
businessman, married and
made Derry her home.
Emily, now a mother of two
young children, admits that
starting up a business was “a
big jump mentally”.
“While I’ve always been
keen on healthy food in
particular, setting up a
small company was quite
a departure from my
background in charity work
and youth mentoring,” she
explains.
“I’d always loved cooking
and entertaining though
and was keen to explore the
potential of a food processing
enterprise, particularly when
the children were settled
at school in the city,” she
continues.
“I am a creative person
naturally, so thinking up
flavours, meals, and ideas
for two, three, or four years
down the road is exhilarating
for me.” Her love of cooking
and recipe creation, she
adds, came from her parents
in Pennsylvania.
Emily’s focus is on “an old
fashioned way to cooking,
simple, creative, nutrientdense food” from ingredients
carefully sourced from local
farms and other suppliers in
the region.
She has launched two
sauces, Sweet & Smoky
Barbecue Sauce and Sweet
& Spicy Vinegar Mop under
her eye catching Lo&Slo
brand and is also developing
four new products, creating
new recipes, and making the
sauces and rubs.
The sauces, both natural
and vegan friendly, are based
on premium ingredients and
recipes she’s developed from
her experience in the US and
her conviction that grilled
food is generally healthier.
Grilled meats tend to be
healthier because fat is able
to drip away, leaving less
fat on the food itself. Her
sauces also benefit from
being cooked slowly. The
distinctive Lo&Slo branding
reflects her commitment the
low temperature and slow
cooking technique which
ensures a healthier product
with greater flavour.
Emily is now busy
marketing the sauces – often
on her bike or on foot – to
delis, farm shops and other
independent retailers in
Derry and further afield.
She’s talented, dedicated and
driven.
Her interest in a food
enterprise was also fuelled
by the growth in festivals
and food fairs such as the
LegenDerry food event and
the Walled City Market. She
launched the new business,
in fact, at last year’s Slow
Food Festival in Derry,
an imaginative initiative
by Derry and Strabane
Council with celebrity chefs
Paula McIntyre and Brian
McDermott, now owner of
the successful Foyle Hotel in
Moville, Donegal.
“I saw people didn’t care
who sat next to them or who
they were buying food from.
Food here is breaking down a
lot of the barriers that once
divided people,” continues
Emily. It’s a view that’s been
influenced by her previous
work and experience in the
community
She describes food as “the
delicious mortar that binds
individuals and societies
together, masking the jagged
edges and sharp corners for
the time that is spent sharing,
laughing, and enjoying food
together. Food heals the body
and society.
“And I believe food has the
power to blend harsh edges
and join strangers and loners
in a momentary eclipse from
their realities into friends and
family for the short duration
of a meal,” she says.
Food didn’t simply help
“to mend current and future
cracks”, she continued. “Food
tells a story. It is the face and
identity of a culture: how
a culture has survived and
evolved through time. Food
is also cultural vehicle for
engagement.”
Emily turned to the
innovation-focused
Foodovation Centre at
ABOVE: Emily McCorkell, owner of Derry-based Lo&Slo
BBQ sauces.
the North West Regional
College on Derry’s
Strand Road for expert
guidance on developing
her original and delicious
sauces. “Foodovation is
a marvellous operation
and has helped me to turn
my ideas into commercial
products. It provides
excellent facilities for me
in the production of the
sauces. The advice I’ve
received – and continue to
receive – from expert staff
there is invaluable.
“The team helped me
prepare for the launch of
my American-style sauces at
the Slow Food Festival. And
it’s tremendous to see Derry
at the forefront in Northern
Ireland of the global Slow
Food movement
“I was in awe at how
many people loved my
sauce at the event. Seeing
the public’s reaction to
my products was unreal! I
almost sold out on the first
day,” adds Emily.
“There has never been a
more exciting time for food
lovers to be in Derry. And, I
really love the collaboration
that is now happening
across the city, adds Emily
She’s enthusiastic about
the “growing number of
people, businesses and
organisations all working
together to make the city a
better place for everyone”.
“I am looking forward, for
example, to being involved
in the new food network
being created in the area,”
adds Emily.

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