Women Of The Irish Food Industry – Emma Martin, Food Blogger
Emma Martin is a food blogger and the founder of the Copper Coast Market.
If you ever come across Emma Martin on social media, you will know her and be grabbed for her infectious energy and enthusiasm. She smiles with her whole face and she loves with her whole self and I find her to be an absolute tonic on my time line.
Just like Christine Theze, Emma Martin lives in Waterford and highlights all that is great about that part of the country. She often makes me want to jump in the car and pop down to the Copper Coast Market. I promised myself I will get to at least one this year. It will start again in late Spring and will be found in Tramore on the last Sunday of every month.
In more recent news, Emma has just relaunched her blog, and I strongly urge you to go read it. It’s a very Emma and therefore happy and warm place on the internet.
I’m talking to women in the Irish food industry. How did your career path bring you here?
I’ve always been a lover of food and I support all things local. I worked in a factory for ten years, then I left 5 years ago to come back to college and get a degree in Social Care Practice which I’m just finishing now.
Through that time I started blogging about food and got to know some local traders and producers and it fed my passion for local food and supporting local businesses.
A friend I met through a college work placement encouraged me to start my own market while we were chatting one day and honestly I couldn’t get it out of my head and decided to go for it. That was a year ago this week and the support has been incredible. I approached ChiaBia about using their space at the beginning of May 2019, they were hugely supportive and at the end of May we had our first event, and here we are planning more for this year.
How does your career fulfil you?
The connections I am making and have made through blogging and especially the network of wonderful women and friends with the market have amazed me and is giving me something I didn’t realise I needed. The support, friendship and respect going every way is incredible and the sense of community is truly gorgeous.
What are your professional ambitions? What’s next for Emma Martin?
This one I can’t answer precisely… I love not knowing what’s around the corner but my degree I’m about to finish this year is in Social Care and I would love to work in something that brings together elements of counselling and community and food but I have no idea what that is yet!
In your opinion, what challenges do women face in the food industry in Ireland?
In a word, mansplaining. I think, as in all industries, for women there’s always the aul fella who will say “what you SHOULD do is…” and it’s lovely to tune them out but better again to tell them to feck off.
Tell us of one woman in the Irish food industry who consistently inspires you and why?
Kamila Bystrzonowska, owner of Momo in Waterford. She is passionate about food, outspoken, a champion of all local, seasonal and ethically produced food and truly a wonderful person, she is extremely supportive of others in the industry as well as having established a fabulous and thriving restaurant here.
What do you think can be done to help raise the profile and visibility of women in the food industry in Ireland?
Community and not competition. I’m a firm believer in it. Small gestures like sharing posts, commenting and supporting each other.
What was the proudest moment of your career so far?
The first Copper Coast Market at Chiabia back in May, I hadn’t a clue what I was doing, but somehow we all pitched in and pulled off a belter of a market. I cried after it, I just couldn’t believe so many people came to support us. It felt like a victory and it still does because of the group of incredibly talented people and friends I’ve made through it.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Question everything and never mind what you think others think of you because it doesn’t matter, be kind and sound to yourself especially.
What are the top skills required to do your job and why?
Being organised is definitely a plus but so is flexibility – not everything will go to plan sometimes and you have to roll with it. Empathy is a huge part of it too – it’s important to be fair to people – we’re all doing our best. Something I always try to remember is to ASK for something if you want it, nobody is a mind-reader and the worst they can say is ‘no’.
What’s your tipple of choice?
I’m not really a drinker but I do like a zingy, fruity cocktail on a rare, big night out!