Cork chef on new business venture with local coffee shop Joe's + Bros

Cork chef on new business venture with local coffee shop Joe's + Bros
Chef Mikey Olden delivering lunches to frontline staff as part of Joe's + Bros Feeding the Frontline initiative during lockdown.

A local independent coffee shop that has been at the forefront of helping frontline workers during Covid-19 is now taking on a new business venture with its Foodbox.

Joe’s + Bros previously raised over €8,000 in a fundraiser that exceeded its target in a matter of days after being met with overwhelming support in its mission to feed the frontline.

The Feeding the Frontline fundraiser saw hundreds of lunches being prepared and distributed to hospitals and frontline emergency services.

The idea for the coffee shop’s new business venture came about through conversations had while working to feed the frontline during lockdown when the Joe’s + Bros owners and its chefs realised that they had to adapt to the current situation.

Joe’s + Bros chef Mikey Olden who has found Instagram fame by ‘cooking through Corona’ said that conversations were had about how the virus would affect business and from “spitballing thoughts” they came up with the Foodbox.

The contents of the first Joe's + Bros Foodbox.
The contents of the first Joe's + Bros Foodbox.

The new Foodbox contains the ingredients and instructions to make restaurant quality food from home and a video portraying the method to cooking up the ingredients is released each week with each new Foodbox.

Mr Olden had been a chef with Joe’s + Bros in Winthrop Arcade in the city centre since October offering a full lunch and sambo menu before the spread of the virus forced the coffee shop to close its doors in March.

He said that before the virus hit that he had “never been more happy in a job”.

“I’ve never worked in a place with such good moral & support from owners & fellow staff members. Every morning when I wake up I’m happy to go into work & that’s huge for me. I’ve worked in so many places that I hated and dreaded going in everyday.” Mr Olden turned his hand to cooking at home during lockdown, offering his recipes on his Instagram account and posting a simple step by step method.

Speaking to The Echo he said: “For me cooking is an escape, it always has been. For years I struggled with substance abuse and with my mental health and food was always my only escape. I completely switch off when I start to cook.

Chef Mikey Olden recording for the new Joe's + Bros Foodbox.
Chef Mikey Olden recording for the new Joe's + Bros Foodbox.

“I love creating, having loads of raw ingredients and turning them into something that not only tastes amazing but looks amazing too. I love the reaction I get when I put a smile on somebody’s face when they're eating my food.

“I’ve finally started to upload & post some of my food & my recipes over on my instagram page @mikeyolden. Sharing my food with others and teaching people how to cook was something I’ve always wanted to do but struggled with the self-confidence to actually start doing it.

“When this lockdown started for the first two weeks my head wasn’t in a good place as my whole routine was gone, so I had to come up with something to fill my days and that’s where the cooking through corona idea started and honestly I’m blown away by the reaction I’ve got since starting,” he said.

The Foodbox which was launched this week contains everything needed to make a full meal for six with locally sourced ingredients from Cork producers.

The first box contains six beef and black pudding burgers seasoned with Joe’s + Bros in-house recipe, homemade chips, a selection of sauces, toppings such as pickles, cheese and carmelised onions.

The Foodbox is available to order for collection or delivery at €40.

A website is currently under construction and orders can be made through all social platforms and also by phone on 0214809109.

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