“The Odlums Woman”
TV3’s Ireland Am
Having learned how to cook from her mother and granny, Catherine’s career began after studying home economics at college.
She got a job travelling around the country promoting fan oven baking, and then joined Odlums over 40 years ago, as their home economist and cookery advisor. She has since gained the title of brand ambassador.
She could never have imagined that she would still be there four decades later when she walked in the door at 22, but she loved home baking and was passionate about it. Her job originally involved going around the country doing demonstrations, many of which took place at meetings of the Irish Countrywomen’s Association.
“When I started out first, I was in country halls where there was no central heating or running water, “The ladies would set up the room, and there would be a big fire behind me while I was demonstrating. It was difficult to get cookers back in those days, and on one occasion, all they had to use was a two-ring hob, so they told me to just do soup.”
Another thing that has kept Catherine busy over the years is Odlums’ home baking advisory service. Catherine’s TV career came about 11 years ago, when she went on the show to promote porridge-eating. Her feisty manner and hilarious banter with Alan Hughes went down a storm, and she was invited back three weeks later. The “Odlums Woman” had arrived.”I have been there ever since, so I suppose I can thank Alan for my career,” she says.
“I was getting more popular and the crowds were getting bigger, thank God, but it became a huge production with camera men and big screens. I do very few demonstrations now because I reach more people through TV. “I have a short space of time on air, so I have to think of the logistics of getting something done in four or five minutes, but we always manage it.” Her TV career only took off when she was in her 50s, and hopes to continue for as long as possible on TV.