Jackie Spillane, market manager with Marlay Park Markets
TRUE CHARACTERS:Shopping at markets was perceived to be an elite activity . . . now people see it is a sustainable way of doing business and markets are here to stay.
We have a lot of applications from cupcake vendors . . . but what we need more of is vendors who approach their business with innovation and imagination. I get very excited when I encounter a new trader who has come up with a new angle on a traditional product.
The recession has brought lots of new food entrepreneurs our way . . . but unfortunately many of them focus on hot food. While this has a place at markets, it’s essential not to overwhelm the grocery offering.
Some are winners from the start . . . one that caught my eye from the outset was Glorious Cakes, made by Gloria Chan.
If I were to run a stall myself . . . I’d sell my home-made bagels.
The most successful stallholders . . . are those who have kept it simple. They focus on their product, keep their level of customer service high, and remain on the stalls themselves instead of handing it over to a deputy.
To run a market stall . . . you’ve got to be tenacious. Market traders are a very special breed. Not everyone can hack working outside all weekend, every weekend.
It gives me a buzz . . . when I overhear customers bragging to their companion about the quality of the merchandise they bought at the market.
The best advice I’ve ever been given . . . was when my sister told me to simplify my life. An ongoing process.
If I wasn’t doing this . . . I’d be organising something somewhere; I was born to organise.
When I’m not working at the markets . . . I am working on my new project, The Delgany Grocer, which still falls into the realm of Too Good To Be True.
My dream dinner party guests would be . . . I thought about various combinations of highly entertaining and witty people. But I really just want a one-on-one with Leonard Cohen.
And I’d cook him . . . my home-made gnocchi, and a leafy green salad.
Five things I always have in my larder are . . . gram flour, black beans, chickpeas, rice noodles and dark chocolate.
If I only had a tenner to go shopping with . . . I’d buy ingredients for a big salad with toasted nuts. And some fresh bread.
My ideal day off is spent . . . at home with a cupboard to reorganise, and some loud music.
I’m really good at . . . finding chocolate in the house even when there’s supposed to be none.
Not many people know this about me . . . but I believe that almost all household problems can be fixed with Blu Tack, Velcro or, at a push, a hammer and nails. My father does not agree.
My guilty pleasure is . . . eating gigantic airport-sized Toblerones in bed.
In conversation with Marie-Claire Digby
Marlay Park Market is on Saturdays and Sundays, 10am-4pm.