Belfast Telegraph

Portuguese delights a winner for Jose

By Rachel Martin

A job marketing Northern Ireland to Portuguese workers first brought Jose Andre to the region - but now his business L'Artisan, which bakes recipes inspired by his Portuguese homeland, has given him a new reason to stay.

Jose has won several awards for his Pastel de Natas, a Portuguese egg tart pastry.

His Quiche Lorraine was also shortlisted for the 2016 Great British Food Awards and he was a finalist for this year's Food Heartland Innovation Award - but things haven't always been easy for the Portadown-based baker.

Jose was born in Portugal, but moved to Brazil as a child when his father took a job there.

There Jose met his wife and worked for poultry firm Moy Park, encouraging Portuguese workers to travel to Northern Ireland to work in its Craigavon factory.

He first fell in love with Northern Ireland when he was asked to come to the country to help the workers settle in. By 2004 he had decided to move here.

Jose said: "Every day I used to drive past the business park and think about how I wanted to lease a unit and start my own business.

"Then I was sitting on a plane on the way back to visit my family in Brazil and I said to myself, 'It will be now - I will give up my job and start again'."

Jose bought his bakery thinking its previous owner would teach him how to bake Northern Ireland favourites.

"He showed me how to make a sausage roll and that was about it, so I had to come up with some recipes and decided to use my mother's Portuguese ones.

"I was afraid it wouldn't work out - I took samples around coffee shops and cafes and everybody said they were delicious but that they already had bakeries they worked with," he said.

Today L'Artisan employs seven people and recently moved to a unit twice as big as its first one.

Belfast Telegraph