To say there are two distinct halves to Tommy Torrades’ life is a serious understatement. On the one hand he runs Seashore Veg with his father, Mark, and is a passionate promoter of the benefits of seaweeds along our Atlantic shores. On the other hand, Tommy is an adventurer and traveller extraordinaire with stamps in his passport from countries most of us have never heard of and definitely couldn’t find on a map.
Tommy is the second of Bríd and Marc Torrades’ five children, so innovation and entrepreneurship are in his DNA. During his childhood in Collooney, his parents ran the celebrated Glebe Country House as a restaurant and small hotel. His training in customer service began in the cradle; it’s no wonder Tommy is an excellent communicator and comfortable in his own skin.
He saw studying Marine Science in Galway as a route to travelling the world with work and he certainly wasn’t mistaken. As a newly fledged graduate he went to New Zealand and spent an enjoyable six months there working as a restaurant manager and in IT. Back home, he used his Marine Science qualification doing surveys on the Celtic Explorer research vessel, mainly on herring stocks.
The food industry always interested him, and he completed a Cork-based course in Food Technology – but the lure of a job in Iceland working as a whale watching guide proved too strong and the exams were never completed! That led to an exciting drive north to the Arctic Circle where he began diving for shellfish with a Scottish diver. They supplied scallops, mahogany clams and razor shells to the finest Scandinavian restaurants like Noma, Maaemo and Faviken.
Tommy likes to drive. He’s driven from Ireland through Europe and across the remarkable 4km Oresund bridge in Copenhagen linking Denmark to Sweden. The return journey was via the Baltics – Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine. More recently he spent three months this summer raising money for charity while driving a Toyota Yaris on the remarkable Mongol Rally. It has a start point and a finish point – but the route in between is up to the individuals. For Tommy and his co-pilot that was a 30,000 kilometre adventure through dozens of countries, driving the second highest road in the world (4,700m) and through terrifying peaks and troughs of temperature. Seems that Toyotas are every bit as reliable as they claim!
Somewhere along the way Tommy managed to find time for ‘real’ work – setting up Seashore Veg with his father Marc. His vision is to develop a ‘Celtic Cuisine’ based on what is natural and good about our food in Ireland. Seashore Veg is part of this producing a range of seaweeds dried, ground and used as condiments. They also sell dried nets of seaweed for use in the bath or shower. Goodness for outside as well as inside.
… and in his spare time, Tommy is completing a post-grad course in Dublin developing creative thinking and entrepreneurship!