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Bringing the flavours of Indonesia to Northern Ireland

Shera McAloran, managing director, Karri Kitchen

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BRIEFLY OUTLINE YOUR EMPLOYMENT HISTORY TO DATE

I started off my career as a flight attendant for Lion Air, one of the biggest Indonesian airlines operating across South-East Asia, and made the decision to then move to Australia and pursue a career in something I was passionate about – good food. I secured a job as the café and store manager for Aboutlife, an incredible organic marketplace, one of the largest in Australia.

Following on from this, like any good story, I fell in love with an Irish man and moved half-way across the world to be with him. Having settled into life in Northern Ireland, I immediately set about getting back into the health/nutrition space and joined Tiro nutrition as part of their business development team.

I am now the owner and managing director of Karri Kitchen, an award-winning food manufacturer specialising in healthy south-east Asian ready meals and snacks. Nestled in Co Armagh, Karri Kitchen’s super tasty, healthy dishes are distributed to local stores across Northern Ireland and direct to consumers from our Karri Kitchen HQ. We are massive stalwarts of intuitive eating at KK - listening to your body and trusting its instincts to make better choices around fresh, nutritious food - without judgement and influence from a ‘dieting’ culture.

WHAT DOES YOUR ROLE INVOLVE?

My role involves overseeing the whole operation of Karri Kitchen. From managing the kitchen and production team, to organising our business strategy and everything that entails. One of my favourite things I get to do is developing new product ideas. I’ll examine business and industry trends and see if we can expand on this and make healthy nutritious variants to fit our ethos at Karri.

WHEN DID YOU TAKE UP THIS POST?

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I started Karri Kitchen from my own home in 2019. From a one-person job to a fully-fledged factory operation here now in 2022, we have seen unprecedented growth in the business and we are so excited to see how far we can take it.

BRIEFLY OUTLINE A TYPICAL DAY

Most days, I usually get up at 5.20am – some days I get to the gym, others I am straight to work. At work by 7am at the latest, I start with a daily briefing with the production and kitchen team.

Work involves a lot of meetings, some days I will be in the kitchen testing some new recipes, other days I will be in production, overseeing things and garnering feedback from staff.

Other days I will help with logistics or be on reception serving and interacting with our customers.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE PROUDEST MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE?

The proudest moment just happened recently when we won, not only one, but two NIFDA awards: Healthier Product Innovation and Highly Commended Small Company Product.

When my home Indonesia was mentioned alongside Northern Ireland and all of the incredible local produce, it was one of the proudest moments in my life. To bring the flavours I grew up with to Northern Ireland and that to be celebrated was truly special.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO TO UNWIND AWAY FROM WORK?

I like to run, especially trail running. Running allows me to experience nature. Also, it makes me feel empowered and resilient, which I carry over into my daily life.

TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT NOT MANY PEOPLE MAY KNOW

I was graduating as a fashion designer back in Indonesia and won a couture design award for Jakarta Fashion Festival, one of the biggest fashion events in all of Indonesia.


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