SARA MITCHELL owns rotisserie business POULET BONNE FEMME with her husband GAVIN McCARTHY and enjoys a weekend spent locally with family and friends after a busy working week …
This year got off to an amazing start. We just signed with Avoca’s parent company Aramark which means expansion of Poulet Bonne Femme into other markets. As a result we expect to be travelling to the UK a lot which is exciting. It’s still hard to fathom that our idea of a rotisserie van at various farmer’s markets, when Gavin was made redundant in 2009, has grown into the brand it is today.
We actually got the idea on holiday in Spain – we always go to Almeria on the south-east which has the most beautiful coastline and empty beaches. It was there we first saw the chicken rotisserie that inspired Poulet Bonne Femme.
Gavin and I love socialising; it’s part of who we are as a couple and I enjoy getting dressed up for a night out. I’m currently into my Isabel Marant velvet dress with little puff sleeves; last year I seemed to favour jumpsuits. I had a great Maje black jumpsuit and a stripy Sandro one that I wore to my brother-in-law’s festival-themed 50th birthday.
My style has definitely evolved over the years. When we first started our business we were lugging around a trailer and carrying boxes of chicken in and out of fridges so I was always in a pair of jeans and runners – no style required! While jeans are still a staple in my wardrobe I try to dress them up with a shirt or top. I favour Cos because of its simplicity and I love The Kooples too. They are stylish enough for any unplanned meetings. My go-to shop is BT2 in Dundrum and I’ve never been disappointed there.
Friday is my favourite day of the week and the weekend always starts when the kids descend from various playdates. With three boys at home (who are eight, six and two), I rely heavily on my childminder who also happens to be our first-ever au pair. I’m not sure what we’ll do when she leaves us in June but I will postpone that challenge for now. Gavin and I like to experiment with recipes by cooking something new and later we unwind with a lovely glass of red. I try to have a digital detox and stop looking at my phone from 7.30pm.
At the moment, we’re planning Gavin’s 40th and hope to go away with a group of friends. Ibiza and the south of France have been floated as venues, though I’ll probably go away with him on my own too. Berlin is on my wish list, especially because of its food scene. For me, cocktails, good food and music are key to any party.
During term, we’re up at the usual time on Saturdays as the older boys have football training and matches and Gavin and I always attend these. It’s an ideal time to meet other parents and afterwards we take the boys for a treat; hot chocolate at The Cafe @64 Wine in Glasthule. I recommend their wine and cheese board on a Friday evening. After that we’ll drop into all of our outlets. Saturday is a busy day for Poulet Bonne Femme and we like to make sure everything is in order. Gavin is on the operational side and we have a team of 26. People always ask about us working together but it’s always been just the two of us and I can’t imagine it any other way. While Gavin is on site, I spend most of my time at meetings in Avoca, or at the office, though we call each other constantly.
During the year, I go away with girlfriends for a long weekend. Last year it was beautiful Bordeaux. We stayed in an Airbnb for the first time, cycled around the city, and no surprise, we seemed to spend the time eating and tasting wine! The highlight was an amazing antiques market. I could quite happily have bought all the furniture.
Me-time in a house full of boys is problematic but I find a scented candle helps (by Cloon Keen Atelier), or an indulgent Laura Mercier Crème Brulee bath. I also collect vintage silver and china that I pick up in local charity or antique shops; there are so many good ones between Dún Laoghaire and Blackrock. I escape on Instagram and follow interiors and foodies such as Rockett St George, The Green Spoon, Gastro Gays and Black Sheep Foods – the latter is a local catering company and if I had an event I’d use them as I like what they do.
The Vintage Kitchen
Gavin and I like to try new restaurants. The Vintage Kitchen (Poolbeg Street, Dublin 2) was a recent treat, while Dunne & Crescenzi (on South Frederick Street) is a favourite, as is Zakura (on Wexford Street). I’m not into spas – I much prefer going for an overnight stay in a hotel with good food. Saying that, I thoroughly enjoyed a few days in the Monart Spa (Co Wexford).
On Sunday, you’ll probably find us at the People’s Park in Dun Laoghaire where it all started. We seem to spend most of the day drinking coffee and meeting friends and family. I’d have to nominate Sticky Bun in Clonakilty for its Badger and Dodo coffee and the best lemon drizzle cake in Ireland, while Cake Cafe on Camden Street is another favourite.
Later I’ll put on a roast. Sunday cooking is so healthy and hearty and we make it a bit of an occasion. In my spare time I browse cookery books and am currently inspired by Palestinian cookery. I’m not one for prepping the week ahead as I hate to waste Sunday night – it’s sacrosanct for me. As a result, Monday mornings are always a dash.
As told to Penny McCormick.
This article appeared in a previous issue of THE GLOSS Magazine, for more features like this don’t miss our next issue, out Saturday March 4.
Love LOOKTHEBUSINESS.ie? Sign up to our MAILING LIST now for a roundup of the latest career advice, networking events and interviews.