Ballymaloe recipe for success: ‘It’s hard so keep at it’

The recipe for the continuing success of Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery School “is hard work and to keep at it”.

Ms Allen was commenting yesterday on accounts just filed by Ballymaloe Cookery School showing its accumulated profits increased by almost €250,000 last year.

The food writer said yesterday she is “very pleased” with how the Co Cork-based cookery school business performed last year.

The school employs 45 to 50 people and its three-times-a-year 12-week cookery course costs €10,495 per person.

The school also offers shorter cookery courses and the 12-week course has capacity for 60 people, generating revenues of €1.97m if fully subscribed over one year.

In an interview yesterday, Ms Allen said: “Some students have saved for years or are spending their redundancy money on paying for the course, so we have a huge responsibility that at the end of the course, the students will have acquired the skills to allow them earn a living from cooking.”

Ms Allen said that the school is “very lucky” that the current 12-week course is full with 60 people from 13 different countries.

Ms Allen said the cookery school is benefiting from the growing interest in cooking food “and I believe that we have contributed to that growing interest as well”.

The school is based on a 100-acre organic farm at Shanagarry in Cork and the new abridged figures show that Ballymaloe Cookery School increased its accumulated profits by €247,537 from €1.53m to €1.78m in the 12 months to the end of Aug 31 last.

Ms Allen said between the cookery school, restaurant and accommodation, 80 to 100 people are employed.

Ms Allen established the Cookery School in 1983 “with nine or 11 students”.

“I had no business training, I didn’t know what a feasibility study was and I didn’t have any five-year plan. We have expanded over the years by borrowing money and working like hell to pay it back.”


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