An interview with The French Rooms

The French Rooms is a French-inspired licensed restaurant in Bushmills that offers simple and elegantly presented dishes using local produce, priced for regular visits and not just for special occasions. We caught up with Stella from The French Rooms to find out more!

How would you describe your role in The French Rooms?

I am the owner and can be found cooking in the kitchen or looking after guests in the restaurant.

What made you decide to start a business?

Hospitality is in my genes for sure. My Mum had a successful guest house, and her ancestors started the award-winning Morans Oyster cottage in Co. Galway is still going strong today. With a part-time job at a local hotel at an early age, I got the bug. My career after graduating was mainly Management, and after leaving the Bushmills Inn Hotel, I took some time to think about what next.

“Food has always been a passion. My family are foodies and have always fished and grown vegetables and fruit. Growing up in rural Ireland, you cooked meals from scratch. Take-outs were not an option, and meals out were a rarity. Opening a small restaurant offered me the opportunity to indulge my passion on a comfortable scale.”

— Stella, The French Rooms

At Source Grow, our aim is to help sourcers get access to great local produce. What are some of your favourite local foods?

Here in Bushmills, we have the best potatoes on our doorstep. McCurdy\’s are just up the road and grow a variety to satisfy a seasonal palate like mine. In addition, we grow a variety of herbs and vegetables ourselves in our kitchen garden.

How can people fit sustainability into their lifestyles?

Think and eat seasonally. Rather than think about what I want to eat, think about what\’s fresh now and research dishes using local produce. Reducing waste is a major challenge, but there are so many resources available to us online to help us find recipes and ideas to use up ingredients to produce delicious dishes creatively.

Looking to the future, what would you love to see in the industry?

I would love to see a common approach across the sector that would support efforts to champion local producers. It is currently difficult to compete against operators who source on price but educating ourselves and our customers, telling the stories of our great producers, and the providence of what they produce should help inform customers decisions and add value.

Any final words?

I am so delighted to have the opportunity to get involved in this initiative. We at The French Rooms know we can do more to support local producers and become more sustainable in our own right but we recognise the difficulties and frustrations that exist with that vision.

We need support, and SourceGrow has come at the right time, focusing on bringing solutions to the challenges we meet within the supply chain.