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Atlantic Kitchen seaweed telegraph magazine

‘She sells seaweed’, The Telegraph magazine

31 May 2014

Atlantic Kitchen’s seaweed company director Dawn Hourigan is featured in The Telegraph Magazine’s Word of Mouth section in May 2014. By Richard Mellor. For more about Atlantic Kitchen products click here:

Seaweed has long been a staple of Irish coastal diets, but Dawn Hourigan’s parents cooked it more eclectically than most thanks to a shared interest in nutrition and her Israeli mother’s exotic culinary background. ‘We’d go down to Man o’ War cove to collect seaweed and mussels and then Dad would make his seafood chowder,’ Hourigan, 29, remembers fondly of her childhood in Co Cork. ‘When I moved to London in 2011, though, I could scarcely find seaweed anywhere.’

Hourigan identified a gap in the British market. ‘Health foods were becoming evermore popular,’ she says, ‘and I thought, why not seaweed? In terms of British cuisine, seaweed was basically only present in sushi, despite potentially ticking every current foodie box; it’s locally sourced, sustainable, tasty and incredibly good for you. It has all the ingredients to become the next superfood; complete protein, antioxidants, magnesium to combat stress, iron for energy, alginate to help weight loss, all the body’s required vitamins and very high amounts of iodine, which aids the thyroid gland.’

Hourigan quit acting training and teamed up with a friend, Ruth Dronfield, who had been working in events planning. They registered their company, Atlantic Kitchen, on Christmas Eve 2012. The next step was to carefully choose a harvester in western Ireland. ‘The first one had to be Irish as the seas there are so clean and pure,’ Hourigan says. They decided on a fourth-generation, family-run company that picks the seaweed at low tide; workers cut at the root, which allows for regrowth, making the process sustainable, before it is dried. ‘The stuff washed up on the beach is ignored – that’s like fallen apples under a tree,’ she says. The first order was for 10 kilos, delivered to her flat. ‘My dad and I paid on our credit cards and just went into debt for a while.’

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