The Early Years
In the early days Frank started smoking in a cupboard–like room – his first smoke consisted of only two precious wild fish. The chips were hewn from whisky barrels he acquired from the local Midleton Distillery for 50p each. And the process would involve night–long vigils in his grand father’s armchair when he would nurse the smoke in the DIY brick kiln, visible through the Pyrex dish ‘window’. From time to time, explosive vapours from the whisky in the barrels would hurl the latest dish across the room. How things have moved on since then.
Frank constantly strives to make our food better, but people loved his fish from the start, and his reputation spread quickly – helped in no small way by local luminary Dr Myrtle Allen, Cork City’s vibrant food culture and Frank’s single–minded desire to create a delicious and iconic Irish food. Smoking fish was his skill & interest, but it was primarily his way of making a living. To this end, Frank was one of the producer pioneers of the farmers’ markets in Ireland travelling weekly to Cork, Dublin, and even County Down to create a market for his produce in Midleton, Cornmarket, Templebar, Dun Laoghaire, Lara… to name but a few.
It wasn’t long before a steady stream of international food journalists, photographers, chefs and would–be smokers were making the pilgrimage to see this very special smoke house. Without exception visitors leave here with the sense of having seen and tasted the real thing. The aroma of wood smoke in our yard greets newcomers like a drawing room fire. The ethereal vision of the hanging salmon appearing through the dissipating smoke seems to inspire a sense of awe in its simplicity. Few leave without something edible to take home, or remember.
Nothing Else Will Do
Those who say they don’t like fish or never eat smoked salmon soon change their minds on tasting Hederman smoked salmon. Those who say they only eat wild salmon end up buying smoked salmon made with organic fish all year round. In a world of mass–produced, industrially smoked fish Frank has redefined smoked salmon and made it so delicious it has become an essential weekly if not daily luxury. At Christmas the children and grandchildren of our customers now insist on the family tradition of Hederman smoked salmon. Nothing else will do.
A family Business
A healthy stream of exports, and customers to our Cork shops and markets – now all within a 15 minute drive of the smoke house – means that Frank can focus on what he set out to do: smoke fish. Hederman, in the meantime, has become a family business with Frank’s father, late mother, his brother all involved over the years.
Frank’s wife, Caroline, and a dedicated crew now work behind the scenes in our smoke house, offices and kitchen, and in our shop and markets. His older children Alexandra Keshia and Laurence are familiar faces too, brought back whenever international careers allow them holiday. Beatrice, aged 9, is in her tenth year of training… We look forward to a second generation.