Bouncing back from a tough grilling by Alan Sugar on The Apprentice, Roisin Hogan realised her dream of creating chilled-food business Hiro Noodles – a no-compromise low calorie meal. Iona Shearer reports on Róisin Hogan’s new venture
It was Roisin Hogan’s breezy Irish charm and long blonde locks that first won over viewers of 2014’s The Apprentice UK. However, it was her sharp wit and business acumen that saw her eclipse her competitors, until she was eventually fired on the show’s penultimate episode because of a flawed business plan. Not one to shy away from a challenge though, Roisin grilled Alan Sugar and hisaides in order to pinpoint the weaknesses in her proposal and create a newer,better plan.
‘Lord Sugar’s aides tear you apart limb from limb, and there was definite naivety in my business plan, but I guess I’m kind of used to that. My mum always said knowing your own weakness can be your greatest strength.’ In a show that is typically saturated with young know-it-alls puffed up with self-importance, Roisin not only came across incredibly well, but managed to exitthe programme with equal parts dignity and determination.
In the whirlwind of appearing on national television, Roisin admits that the impression she was givingon the show was something that played on her mind.‘It isn’t always a positive thing, reality TV, it can be really humiliating – if you say something stupid it can be really amplified. I think what basically happens is, when you have those stupid mistakes, or big conflicts, or embarrassing conversations they’re really kind of intensified because of the unnaturalness of the scenario. ButI have to say this, everything that happened really happened.’
Her television notoriety aside, Roisin’s latest venture is a continuation of the business she appeared on The Apprentice to promote. Despite being fired, Roisin refused to be knocked back, and has since created her food business, Hiro by Roisin, partnering with Irish food magnate Paddy O’Callaghan to create a chilled meal range, using vegetable flour to create ultra-low calorie noodles and pastas.
‘When I came back to Ireland there was no question that I was pursuing this. I’d left my job for this, I’d risked so much, I was going to pursue it no matter what. I loved my job, I totally had my career blinkers on. I was a lifer – that’s what they used to call me. I would never have left except for something I was really passionate about.’
After quitting smoking in 2013, Roisin became extra conscious of what she was eating, aware that it’s common for ex-smokers to gain weight due to changing snacking habits. However working long days at her job with Ernst and Young, Roisin found that there was nothing in supermarkets that answered her need for quick, easy, healthy meals. It was around this time that her sister read an article about Asian Konjac vegetable flour and sent it along knowing it would pique Rosin’s interest.
‘My sister read an article about these zero calorie noodles and pasta and she sent it on to me because she knew I was really interested. I started cooking with them at home and that’s how the idea for the business really took root.’The fact that her product is a no-compromise low calorie meal is what makesRoisin believe her business is destined for greatness, and she is already in talkswith a major retailer about expanding into the UK market.
‘It tastes just like noodles and pasta, it makes you full like them, it’s just ultra-low calorie, 100 calories for a whole meal, and it’s really delicious and tasty. What I love is that it’s not sacrificial,”