13 April 2022
By Elaine Murphy
Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney joins Frank Hederman and Caroline Workman in Cobh to celebrate the significant milestone
Belvelly Smoke House is celebrating 40 successful years in business this year. It is owned and run by husband and wife team Frank Hederman and Caroline Workman. Highlights from their 40 years in business include featuring on the menu at the State banquet held for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s 80th birthday celebrations and its selection for the Ryder Cup menu when it was held in Dublin in 2006.
Hederman’s private client list includes royalty, Ambassadors, Irish rock bands, international film directors and actors.
Frank Hederman was one of Rick Stein’s food heroes and Hederman’s salmon has been a regular feature on the menu at his famous seafood restaurant in Padstow and on his TV series. Frank’s smoked salmon was also used by Chef Richard Corrigan’s winning first course on BBC’s Great British Menu. Frank has been featured on numerous TV documentaries and travel shows and The New York Times famously said “To say Frank Hederman smokes fish is to say that Steinway makes pianos”.
Belvelly Smoke House, established in 1982 and located near the town of Cobh, is Ireland’s only authentic timber smoke house for Irish salmon. Growing up in a seaside town, Frank Hederman was inspired by the bustling activity of fishermen and the local boats landing with salmon catches. He began smoking salmon in a cupboard–like room and is a self-taught craftsman and businessman. A local and family focussed business, Frank’s late father and mother, his brother and children were all involved over the years. Now, Frank and his wife Caroline run the business.
The company employs eight people, a number which doubles during the busy Christmas period. Products from Belvelly Smoke House have appeared on menus such as Rick Stein’s, and on the counters of food halls such as Fortnum and Mason for decades.
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney joined Frank and Caroline in Cobh to celebrate the success of the business.
Minister Coveney said: “This is a fantastic achievement for all of the team at Belvelly Smoke House, especially for Frank and Caroline as they celebrate 40 years in business this year. Their products are enjoyed all over the world and they are truly great ambassadors for Irish food production. I wish them all the success for future as they develop and grow their business from Cobh.”
Last week Frank Hederman became the first Irish person to receive the Walter Scheel Medal, the prestigious annual European culinary prize that recognises outstanding contributions to European culinary culture. Previous winners include Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger of Taittinger Champagne and Spanish Chef Ferran Adrià of El Bulli. The award comes as Belvelly Smoke House celebrates 40 successful years in business. The Walter Scheel judges praised Frank’s traditional smoking methods, as well as his ‘four-decade dedication to producing the finest possible quality smoked salmon’, stating that Frank ‘redefined one of the most iconic products of Ireland’s culinary heritage.’
Frank Hederman said: “We’re feeling happy and proud to have reached our 40 year milestone. Recognition by the Walter Scheel Medal is good for business and it’s good for company morale. We work hard and we’ve done well, so the team deserve that recognition. The award is also for our local community that support us week in week out when they shop at the English Market and farmers markets in Midleton and Cobh. In so doing they are keeping an important food tradition alive and well.”
As well as smoked salmon, Belvelly Smoke House also produces smoked mackerel, eel, haddock, mussels, butter, spices, nuts and a wide range of handmade pates, fishcakes and Hederman at Home dishes which are produced in the Smoke House kitchen. These products are available locally in their English Market shop and at farmers’ markets. Their salmon products are available to buy online for delivery to North America, mainland Europe and Ireland.
Caroline added: “It’s a really harsh world out there and we feel incredibly lucky to have survived and thrived this long and to have all the support and friendships we enjoy through the business. Most of all it is hugely satisfying knowing that so many people enjoy eating what we enjoy making.”