Pastry chef to export range with Invest NI backing
A French pastry chef is hoping to expand his range out of the tea room and into the export market.
Abel Mehablia runs La Table Tea Room and French Patisserie School at Merville House, which opened near Belfast in September.
A native of Paris, Mr Mehablia trained as a patisserie chef near Versailles and worked in France and the Republic of Ireland before coming to Belfast as a pastry chef in the Europa Hotel.
He has also worked in Norway.
Mr Mehablia has been awarded an innovation voucher by Invest Northern Ireland to extend the shelf life of his handcrafted patisserie and breads and to develop packaging suitable for overseas shipping.
"I decided to develop my range of patisseries for sale outside the tea room in response to the demand from customers and from those attending functions to which I've been commissioned to provide products. Initially, I plan to market the patisseries and breads, all handcrafted by me, through my website," he said.
"I approached Invest Northern Ireland for guidance and was encouraged to apply for an innovation voucher, which I did, and was successful.
"While it's a competitive process, I found it very straightforward. The funding will enable me to secure the expertise I need to grow my business."
The innovation voucher provides smaller companies with easily accessible funding of up to £4,000 for an agreed business growth project with a university or college.