Picture by Michael Cooper
Pictured is Maynard Mawhinney, Invest NI Director of Food and Tourism, with Jean-Pierre Carre, Managing Director of Choux Choux.
Bangor-based Choux Choux, a specialist in hand crafted fresh pastry, is investing £152,000, with assistance from Invest Northern Ireland, to expand its business in the Republic of Ireland and to explore opportunities developing in Britain.
The company, based at Dunlop Industrial Units in Bangor, has already created three new jobs to support its business growth plan. The company currently employs four people full time and one part time. In addition, it is providing experience in pastry production to three trainees.
Assistance for Choux Choux’s export focus was announced by Maynard Mawhinney, Invest NI Director of Food and Tourism, during a visit to its bakery, where he was briefed by Managing Director Jean-Pierre Carre, an experienced French patisserie chef, who founded the business in April 2008.
Mr Mawhinney said: “Choux Choux has created a unique position in the Northern Ireland marketplace as a provider of fresh pastries and desserts developed in consultation with leading chefs in major foodservice organisations. It is now seeking to build on contacts it has made in the Republic of Ireland with advice and guidance from our international marketing team.”
“As well as enabling the company to build on existing business in the Republic, our support will assist the specialist bakery to raise its profile and thereby promote sales in other markets,” he added.
The company is expanding from a solid base in Northern Ireland where it already provides desserts to high profile clients such as Queen’s University and Titanic Belfast for functions, conferences, graduation ceremonies and weddings.
Mr Carre, who is the third generation of caterers, came to Belfast in 1984 from Versailles, near Paris, and is a Fellow of the World Master Chefs’ Society, said: “I set up Choux Choux to meet a market demand for premium and fresh desserts and pastries from chefs wishing to offer customers a deliciously different taste experience. Chefs here are now keen to work with us to create original desserts and pastries.
“What sets us apart is our focus on providing fresh and often unusual desserts which are produced on a daily basis to specifications agreed with customers. We also source the vast majority of ingredients locally to ensure freshness and also to support our suppliers in Northern Ireland.
“We created a range of mini-desserts, for instance, in response to a demand from chefs wishing to offer diners the opportunity to taste bite-sized portions of different desserts at the same time.
“We are also developing an ecommerce site that will provide a platform for us to expand awareness and increase business in Northern Ireland but also in our target growth markets of the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain,” he added.
Led by Mr Carre, who has experience over 30 years in catering, Choux Choux currently produces over 100,000 desserts per annum and specialises in chocolate treats and mini desserts.
Invest NI has offered the company financial assistance of £28,000 towards the costs of this expansion.