I'm looking forward to the days when we can get back to restaurants and meeting friends...

In our Person to Person column, we catch up with Sarah Collins, Marketing Manager for Ballymaloe Foods to talk about her job, childhood memories, and travelling around the world
I'm looking forward to the days when we can get back to restaurants and meeting friends...

Sarah Collins, Marketing Manager from Ballymaloe Foods

TELL us about yourself:

I’m Sarah Collins and I’m Marketing Manager for Ballymaloe Foods. I live in Cork but have travelled extensively over the last few years. I love cooking and am really enjoying long walks at the moment, but I’m really looking forward to the days when we can get back to restaurants and meeting friends.

Where were you born?

I was born and raised in Carrigtwohill.

Where do you live?

After living abroad for 10 years (eight years in the UK and two years in Argentina), I moved home last year just before Covid and got the opportunity to join Ballymaloe Foods as marketing manager.


My parents, and I have four older brothers. I am the only girl and the youngest but despite what everyone may think I didn’t always get my own way or wasn’t spoilt.

Best friend?

They say you are a reflection of the people you surround yourself with and I am lucky to have a great group of close friends both here in Cork and some who haven’t made it home yet.

Earliest childhood memory?

It was summertime and we were on a drive or a family trip and my mum had bought me a 99. I remember it seeming enormous as I was only maybe three or four and it was all melting down my hands, so my dad offered to ‘clean’ it for me and basically ate most of my ice-cream. I still bring it up with him to this day as I was so upset my ice-cream was gone.

Person you most admire?

This is a hard one to narrow down, I could obviously pick out some big names that everyone will know but for me it is someone closer to home. I really admire my mother, she has a strength that only Irish mammies seem to possess. 

She has raised six kids (I include my dad as an extra kid) and always puts everyone before herself and they say you turn into your mother so that isn’t something that I would mind happening.

Where was your most memorable holiday?

In January, 2016, my best friend and I quit our jobs and boarded a flight to Mexico to start a six month round the world trip. We were turning 30 so thought if not now, then when.

We spent three months backpacking through Central and South America. We spent a month in New Zealand which actually felt so like Ireland after a few months in Latin America. We then spent two months eating and exploring our way around south-east Asia. It was the holiday of a lifetime.

Favourite TV programme?

I can’t commit to just one on this. I love TV and movies so I am always watching something new. I like to mix it up so two of my favourites would be Breaking Bad and Modern Family.

Favourite radio show?

I had gotten out of listening to radio until I moved home to Ireland again and when I was driving my niece to school we always had to listen to the quiz on the KC and Ross show on 96FM so that show has stuck with me now.

Your signature dish if cooking?

I actually love cooking and food so being a marketing manager at Ballymaloe Foods is an ideal job for me. I think my go to dish if I am cooking is a curry of some sort as I really miss good Indian food since I left the UK.

I love spicy food so when I get the chance to cook for people, they have the glasses of milk at the ready. 

I have actually scarred my five year old niece as she mistakenly took a big spoon of Ballymaloe Fiery Relish at a summer BBQ thinking it was Original Relish, so I have lost her trust. For the first time during lockdown I cooked duck at home and now I love it, I make delicious crispy duck pancakes or tacos.

Favourite restaurant?

I haven’t been able to eat out as much as I would have liked since I have moved home because of the different restrictions. But three places I went to that I would love to go to again are: Café Izz in Cork city, the flavours and the variety of the food is delicious. Miyazaki in Cork city, again everything we ordered was so amazing. Finally, I went to West Cork for a staycation this year and ate in The Church in Skibbereen and I think it was my meal of 2020.

Last book you read?

I just finished reading The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. I would highly recommend it, if you have not heard of him or read any of his books you should give them a go. His writing style is very easy to follow and engaging but he has very deep messages to be learnt from the book.

Last album/CD/download you bought?

I am a long time Spotify fan so, other than my subscription to that, I haven’t bought anything in a long time.

Favourite song?

I have varied taste in music, I like all kinds really except for heavy metal. It’s an oldie but I have always loved Damien Rice — The Blower’s Daughter.

Do you have a pet?

I have two dogs (a golden retriever and a bichon) I have grown up with dogs all my life so they are like family to us.

Morning person or night owl?

A night owl. I can be highly productive in the morning for the first while but then in the evenings I get a new lease of life.

Your proudest moment?

In 2018, I moved to Argentina to live and even though I didn’t speak much Spanish when I arrived, I wanted to experience living in a new culture and immerse myself in learning a new language. 

The best way to learn a language is to be surrounded by it so I went from a few words of Spanish to working for 18 months in a Business School as the marketing manager for our International Markets.

In a company of 200 people, I was one of two native English speakers and the majority did not speak English at all so I had to learn quickly and think it was such a great character-building experience. I moved back to Ireland with some great memories of Argentina, a love of their culture and food and some great friends that, when things go back to normal, I will hopefully get to see again at some point.

While I was there, I also introduced my Argentinian friends to some amazing Irish products that I was severely rationing but willing to share a small bit so they could experience it. Bisto gravy with the traditional roast chicken dinner was a hit as well as Ballymaloe Original Relish to go with our asado (barbecue). However, my Barry’s Tea bag ration was safe as they could not get on board with milk in tea.

Name one thing you would improve in your area in which you live?

My internet connection. Working from home can be a bit interesting sometimes if the internet starts acting up.

What makes you happy?

A combination of things, being around family and friends, going on holidays with my friends, my dogs, cooking and trying new food and drinks.

What else are you up to at the moment?

It is a busy time at work starting out with our 2021 marketing campaigns. We have some exciting things coming out on our pasta sauce range as well as great growth in the UK and other export markets.

Personally, I am doing lots of walking to try and win some of the FitBit step challenge groups I am in, and when I could I was going sea swimming. Not a lot else to do at the moment with the restrictions in place but I am also catching up on reading and trying to work through everything on Netflix.

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