Am­bi­tious fine food duo hits the ground run­ning

Irish Examiner - Supplement - - FOOD & DRINK IRELAND - Áilín Quin­lan

Though al­ready a house­hold name for many, it is less than 18 months since fourth gen­er­a­tion mas­ter butcher Rick Hig­gins and busi­ness part­ner An­to­nio Prin­ci­gallo launched their Ir­ish ar­ti­san pork and beef char­cu­terie.

The dy­namic duo have been friends for years, since Rick first met An­to­nio, a cured meat ex­pert while trav­el­ling in Italy, France and Spain — and worked with him in his fam­ily char­cu­terie.

On Rick’s re­turn to his na­tive Dublin — where, by the way, his fam­ily have been butch­ers since 1880 — he spot­ted a gap in the mar­ket for re­ally good Ir­ish char­cu­terie.

Three years ago, he con­vinced An­to­nio to come to Dublin to set up a char­cu­terie, and the pair worked hard on for­mu­lat­ing their own orig­i­nal recipes.

The com­pany now pro­duces a range of free-range lo­cally-cured beef and pork char­cu­terie.

“We make the range of prod­ucts to our own recipes — we car­ried out a lot of re­search and all the recipes are ours,” says Rick, who re­veals that For­age & Cure is also on the renowned Food Acad­emy Ad­vance Pro­gramme with Su­pervalu. That pro­gramme was ba­si­cally

Step One for For­age & Cure. Step Two, says Rick, has been get­ting on board the In. gre­di­ents’ pro­gramme run by Bord Bia and KSG Cater­ing, which, as Rick ex­plains, es­sen­tially deals with the food ser­vice end of his busi­ness.

Learn­ing lo­gis­tics

“You learn how to deal with distrib­u­tors and chefs. You learn about the lo­gis­tics of work­ing with a big com­pany like KSG.

“Work­ing with KSG un­der this pro­gramme is a big learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for us and will be of ben­e­fit to us — it’s teach­ing us the fun­da­men­tals of busi­ness and we’re get­ting a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence in­ter­act­ing with big busi­ness.

“They are teach­ing us, step by step, covering ev­ery­thing from deal­ing with distrib­u­tors to on-site vis­its, to meet­ing which their chefs. It’s a bril­liant op­por­tu­nity for us.”

Af­ter four months on the pro­gramme, he says: “What we’re learn­ing is in­valu­able. We’re look­ing for­ward to a bright fu­ture mak­ing char­cu­terie in this coun­try.”

“Ire­land is home to some of the world’s most iconic brands such as Bai­ley’s Cream Liqueur, Ker­ry­gold But­ter and Guin­ness. Ire­land is the fifth largest net ex­porter of beef in the world.

En­trepreneurs Rick Hig­gins An­to­nio Prin­ci­gallo, own­ers and founders of For­age & Cure, the Dublin-based ar­ti­san pork and beef char­cu­terie com­pany; in busi­ness just 18 months, they have been in­vited onto two of Ire­land’s top startup pro­grammes.

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