10 February 2020
By Elaine Murphy
Mr. Athula Kuruppu Achchige has gone from strength to strength in his business with the assistance of a range of supports from Cork County Council. The Council owned Cork Incubator Kitchens in Carrigaline, provided the backdrop to success for ‘Athula Fusion Foods’, whose range of fusion sauces are now available in SuperValu stores nationwide.
Entrepreneur and owner of Athula Fusion Foods, Mr. Kuruppu Achchige worked as a chef in several international 5-star hotels, before moving to Ireland to take up a hotel cheffing position in Cork. His dream was to develop a brand of sauces inspired by the recipes of his home village in Sri Lanka. That vision became a reality with the help of Cork Incubator Kitchens.
Cork Incubator Kitchens were official opened in October 2016 and are located in Carrigaline Industrial Estate, Kilnagleary, Carrigaline Co. Cork. The Kitchens are designed to help small and start up food businesses take the next step in starting or expanding their enterprise with reduced financial risk.
Athula Fusion Foods used the Kitchens for 2 years, before expanding to rent a dedicated food grade unit in the same industrial estate, also owned by Cork County Council.
The Local Enterprise Office South Cork (LEO), which is part of Cork County Council, also provided a range of assistance to Athula Fusion Foods, from financial grant aid to mentoring and training.
The LEO were also available to facilitate engagement with their Brexit related Client Portfolio Programme, ‘Meet the buyer’ and other networking events, along with attendance at LEO sponsored food events in Ireland and the UK. The LEO assisted with the businesses entrance to the Food Academy Programme, which in turn allowed the range of sauces to be stocked in SuperValu. Athula is still a regular user of LEO services as a sounding board and for free impartial advice.
Cork Incubator Kitchens are available to rent from just €15 per hour with no long term contracts and are accessible 24 hours a day. The facilities have a variety of uses from food production to training demonstrations, research & development, film production, catering services and seasonal production such as puddings for the Christmas market.
Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Christopher O’Sullivan commented “Athula Fusion Foods are a shining example of the strength of our food business economy in Cork. The Incubator Kitchens are more than a physical location, but instead provide a one stop shop for entrepreneurs in Cork’s thriving food sector, encouraging them to grow and scale. I would urge anyone interested in establishing or expanding a food venture to checkout www.CorkIncubatorKitchens.ie or contact your Local Enterprise Office to access a range of business supports.”
In welcoming the continued success of the Incubator Kitchens, Chief Executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey said “The facility offers state of the art bakery and catering kitchens, with the best of equipment and standards. The Manager is a fully qualified chef and food safety expert and as we see in this example, there is great synergy with our Local Enterprise Offices. The fact that we were able to accommodate this growing company in our food unit in Carrigaline is evidence of Cork County Councils’ commitment and continued support for food companies.”