Kayla’s Kitchen is cooking a storm after successful the LEO award


Kayla’s Kitchen is cooking a storm after winning the LEO award

By Aimee Walsh

Local healthy food company gains strength after winning the Food and Drink Award at the South Dublin Local Enterprise Awards 2021.

Kayla’s Kitchen was founded by Paula Hughes and Emmett Harten in 2019 after their 13-year-old girl Kayla was diagnosed with a rare neurodevelopmental disorder called Rett Syndrome, which limits her ability to absorb nutrients and digestive and bowel problems.

Kayla’s Kitchen has received the LEO South Dublin Food and Drink Award. Pictured is Emmett Harten with Paula Hughes and their daughters Kayla and Jamie

The South Dublin-based company supplies delicious, nutritious frozen meals using fresh, locally sourced ingredients, all made on-site at a mushroom farm in Oldcourt, Ballycullen.

Kayla’s father, Emmett, spoke to The Echo about the company’s success to date.

“I’ve been into batch cooking and part of the ethos of Kayla’s kitchen comes from what I realized when I started cooking the food – that is, in order to get Kayla the best possible result, she needed the best possible Nutrition.

“Also, she had very few opportunities to stimulate her. She couldn’t play, use her hands, or speak. So we found visual stimuli like music and food that she loved. So I made sure that every dinner was an experience and that the last one was different. I make the food good enough for Kayla, so it’s good enough for everyone else. “

Emmett said during the pandemic the company had grown eight-fold and now has four full-time and three part-time employees.

“For people, they want to show that they care about people from afar and we are the people they turn to because they trust the quality of our food to show how much they care about their loved ones . “

Kayla’s Kitchen received the LEO South Dublin Food and Drink Award, an award Emmett described as a “happy surprise.”

“They contacted us to let us know that we would be in the race and it was a bit of a surprise. We didn’t really expect to be considered. We didn’t think we were award winners, but now we are. “

Not only did Kayla’s Kitchen win the LEO South Dublin Award last month, but they also had support to help grow and expand their business.

“We used two primary support streams. The first thing we got was a business expansion grant which allowed us to hire full time workers and invest in some equipment to increase production and meet the demand we experienced during the lockdown. The other stream is the mentoring program we’ve been doing almost consistently for the past two years, ”Emmett told The Echo.

In response to the demand for healthy and quick meals, Emmett said the company has exciting plans to deliver the meals to more people in the near future.

“We are about to export, we have a deal and will start our first deliveries to France to a dealer next month.

“From there, we see ourselves as the leading brand for frozen meals in this country and would like to continue expanding our goals afterwards. We would like to employ ten people at this time next year.

“The other development is that over the next month or two we expect to be making our groceries available at select select high quality independent grocery stores in North Leinster,” concluded Emmet.

To order from Kayla’s Kitchen, go to Kayla’s kitchen

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