Over a decade ago, aspiring Culinary Arts student Matt Brownie, was given a piece of course work that would ultimately make a significant impact on his career in the catering and hospitality sector. After several year’s experience as a chef Matt enrolled with the former CIT as a mature student on their Culinary Arts Degree course.
The brief Matt was given was two pronged, either to create a product where there was a gap in The Irish market or to improve and develop an existing product. With a keen interest in sport and food Matt focused on the Irish snack industry and came up with the idea of crunchy, munchy pork bites as the ideal snack on-the-go. Incidentally the project won the best business plan for the CIT Innovation Award in 2013.
Using new product development methods and incorporating British, Irish and a bit of native Kiwi gastronomy, Matt created the tasty snack, pork crackling with an Irish twist. Scratch My Pork and The Skibbereen Food Company were born. Matt drifted into the hospitality industry in his native New Zealand, once he arrived in the kitchen he was bitten by the bug and decided to pursue a career in the catering sector. He honed his skills in New Zealand before moving to Sydney to take up a position with The Landrock Cafe on Bondi Beach. It was here he met his future wife Ann, a native of Skibbereen who also worked in the hospitality industry. Eventually the couple moved to Dublin where Matt took up a post as Head Chef in the Davenport Hotel, Dublin. Matt and Ann then moved to the Skibbereen area, where they created their home and reared their two children Ava and Aiden.
Matt worked in various kitchens in the West Cork area but behind the scenes he was spending an extensive amount of time developing the Scratch My Pork product through The Skibbereen Food Company. As a result of Matt’s work ethic the company has gone from strength to strength, from national coverage in Ireland to the UK market. Scratch My Pork is a natural product made from pork rind, cooked at specific temperatures with unique spices resulting in a crispy, crunchy, flavoursome, good value, nutritious snack produced in four flavours. Scratch My Pork Smokey offersa cracking BBQ flavour, Scratch My Pork Cajun with New Orleans Cajun style spices, Scratch My Pork Salted, lightly salted with natural salt and Scratch My Pork Salt and Vinegar.
All of these products are dairy free and high in protein. with the exception of the Salt and Vinegar variety they are free from gluten. The Salt and Vinegar has MSG added to enhance flavour. All allergens contained in the range of products are listed on the distinctive packaging and again on the descriptions on the company’s website.
In 2020 Matt introduced the new Pork Crunch range, which complements the original Scratch My Pork brand. Pork Crunch is a tasty and light snack, the perfect snack on-the-go. The new range comes in three flavours, Pork Crunch Cheese and Onion which is a real crowd pleaser, Pork Crunch Bacon flavour and Pork Crunch Sweet Chilli.
More recently The Skibbereen Food Company has launched another product Nibbly Wibbly’s which are stocked in supermarkets and convenience stores throughout Ireland together with supermarkets in the UK.
Matt is justifiably proud of what The Skibbereen Food Company has achieved. All products are available nationwide in many Irish supermarkets and convenience stores. The company was part of the Musgrave’s Food Academy which Matt acknowledges was invaluable to a fledgling business. The products are available from Amazon as well as the company’s website. Matt still has a grá for the kitchen and he has started his own cooking channel under The Skibbereen Food Company banner, known as the Kiwi Culchie.
If you would like to get in touch with Matthew or The Skibbereen Food Company please visit him on facebook or use the links above.