My life in the grocery trade

Emily McCorkell, owner of Lo & Slo, Derry

Emily McCorkell owner of Lo & Slo, Derry

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?

I launched Lo & Slo in 2018 at the Slow Food Festival in Derry with two sauces, Sweet & Smoky Barbecue Sauce and Sweet & Spicy Vinegar Mop. I had been active on social media and blogging prior to launching.

 WHAT ARE THE BEST/WORST PARTS OF YOUR JOB?

I love creating. I’m a creative person naturally, so thinking up flavours, meals, and ideas for two, three, or four years down the road is exhilarating for me. I also love admin and creating order out of chaos. I think the thing that really bothers me most about my job is how much I don’t know. Because I have no background in food or business, I feel as though I’m on the back foot, trying to master things quicker than I’m able.

 BRIEFLY OUTLINE A TYPICAL DAY

I have been producing my sauces at the Foodovation Centre in North West Regional College, so my day starts around 9.30am after dropping my kids off to school. I start by unloading all of my ingredients and getting set up to make and bottle sauces. The team there are so knowledgeable and supportive. Other days, I can be seen walking, cycling, and driving around Derry to various businesses dropping off samples, delivering orders, or recipe testing at home. Most days, I have to lift my kids at 3pm. I then catch up on admin and social media in the evenings after the kids have gone to bed.

 WHAT HAS BEEN THE PROUDEST MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE?

I’m not sure if it was the proudest moment but at the Slow Food Festival, I was in awe at how many people loved my sauce. There were surreal moments of seeing my product bottled and ready for sale, or making big vats of sauce at Foodovation, but seeing the public’s reaction to my products was unreal. I almost sold out on the first day. My proudest moment was just back in November. I went to a pitch event with Women in Business and ended up earning an award.

 WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT THE LOCAL RETAIL INDUSTRY?

There are so many good things, I don’t know if I could say what the best is. But I definitely have two: culinary landscape and local community. I love food anthropology and there has never been a more exciting time to be in Derry. Emmett McCourt is chronicling how a nation survived, not only on the food they ate, but the communities forged through those scarce meals. And then there’s people like Stephen Forbes, who are a part of the inverse effect of the diaspora; Irish people coming home and bringing delicious foods and cultures with them. And I’m a part of that too, despite not being Irish, by bringing American barbecue to the city.

 WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO TO UNWIND AWAY FROM WORK?

I really love reading, music, and art. But my favourite thing to do is cuddling my kids. There’s something about a child’s hug that melts away all the stress and headache of the day. My husband and I always make a point to connect at night and really listen to each other as well.

 TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT NOT MANY PEOPLE MAY KNOW

I love museums! When I was a kid in Philadelphia, I used to visit the art museum there, and visit the museums in New York as well. I really love observing – art, people, nature, everything. When we lived in Dublin, we took our kids to the museums there often. I think it’s good to see ourselves as a part of a greater story every now and then.

 

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