Having worked in renowned restaurants around the world, chef Rose Greene has come back home to Ireland to set up 4Hands Food Studio with her partner Margaux.
4Hands Food Studio will specialise in fermented products like kombucha and kimchi made with local Irish ingredients, but this wasn't always the path that Rose intended to pursue:
"I have a farming background, so I've always been interested in produce in foraging. I studied culinary arts in Cathal Brugha Street, then I wanted to leave Ireland and learn more, so I went to Scotland, Australia, France and Belgium. I kept moving around to work with lots of different chefs and in natural restaurants, which I'm really interested in. In Belgium, I ran In De Wulf, then I opened a casual dining restaurant. After that, I was working with producers to show customers the best produce possible. I started to see that in Ireland there are lots of small scale producers and lots of fermentation that could be worked on. After ten years in the kitchen, needed better balance and to settle more, so I took a little break to travel and decided to come back home to Westmeath with my partner. That was when we decided to start 4Hands Food Studio."
According to 4Hands Food Studio's Instagram page, Rose and Margaux are supporters of regenerative agriculture, producers of naturally fermented foods and drinks, educators in fermentation and sustainable living and chefs. While the business is still in its early stages, it will focus on products, workshops and events, giving Irish fermented products a wider audience. At the minute, 4Hands Food Studio products are available at select markets and independent stores, while Rose also teaches workshops around the topics of resilient farming, waste reduction, fermentation and sustainable living. The ultimate goal for the business is for 4Hands Food Studio to become a destination for those looking to learn more about sustainable living and fermentation:
"We've been home in Ireland for a year now and we just finished renovating a barn on my family farm in Roscommon. As well as our fermented products, drinks like kombucha and ginger beer and locally produced kimchi, we want to diversify and instead hold workshops to teach people so that they can support producers too and learn to use surplus products. We also want to keep one foot in the restaurant market by supplying our products to local restaurants too.
Our courses will be starting later this year. I don’t think that half-day or one-day courses are long enough for people to get confident enough with fermentation, so I want to do weekly or monthly so that people can properly get to grips with things and introduce fermentation to their lives."
Over the past number of years, fermentation has become hugely popular. As people come around to a more sustainable way of living, preserving products has become a more important element to cookery, which is where fermentation comes in. While it was originally seen in higher-end restaurants, it has now become a viable homemade option thanks to courses like the ones Rose plans to offer, books and the internet. The importance of fermentation was made clear to Rose while she was at In De Wulf, where the chefs wanted to "steer away from lots of meat and make their food more sustainable, as well as helping customers connect with producers".
Backed by Rose's history in fine dining and knowledge of fermentation, 4Hands Food Studio looks set to take the Irish food market by storm. The company will officially launch this summer, with workshops slated to follow later in the year. Keep an eye on 4Hands Food Studio's Instagram page for updates.