Age: 27 years old
From: Stillorgan, Dublin.
Crisis means opportunity: “One day, I was eating a tub of non-dairy ice cream while watching tiger king“says Sweeny. If ever there was a story of confinement linked to Covid-19… He had taken refuge in his grandparents’ house in Killorglin after losing his job as chef in a gourmet vegan restaurant in London. His girlfriend, Laura, worked there as an intensive care nurse, but they felt lonely, so they moved back to Kerry.
Brain wave: “The non-dairy ice cream was too icy, too sweet, and it didn’t melt properly.” He decided to create something better. A DIT Culinary Arts graduate and chef for many years, he specialized in vegan and vegetarian cuisine and had worked at Cornucopia. Now the café is just a seller of its ice cream.
The time on his hands: In 2021, he launched Leamhain Ice Cream – a vegan, gluten-free and nut-free ice cream named after the Laune River, which became part of his lockdown marches. “It’s a gourmet treat and the goal is to make it as delicious as possible. There are four flavors, including Double Chocolate Brownie and Lemon Curd Meringue.
Useful: “We get a lot of business from parents trying to find products for their children with allergies.”