I’m Michael, commonly now known around my hometown of Ballymena as the Waffleman!
I’m a fully trained welder fabricator but gave up my job as an aircraft fitter to start my own business and fulfil a lifelong dream of being my own boss. I first started out in business with a professional cleaning business and, somehow, also ended up beginning a vending machine business at the same time. Things were going great, but I as had no passion for the businesses, I decided to do something that I really loved… baking!
In 2014 I sold the cleaning and vending machine businesses and, after a lot of persuasion by my wife, took a year out of work to rest and relax. My real passion had always been baking and I wanted to change this hobby into a career, so I got to work during my year out and began testing a number of different baked goods which I thought might appeal to the public.
My ever-willing family and friends all agreed that my Belgian liege waffles were amazing and should be my focus as they were totally different to anything else in Northern Ireland. Despite this I still wasn’t entirely sure what direction to take the business in, until one day I watched a TV programme where a man had converted an old horse box trailer into a food truck. I immediately contacted him and had a raft of questions regarding the conversion. I absolutely loved the idea, and thankfully he got back to me very quickly and was more than happy to answer all my questions and offer advice.
So, I took a leap and off I went to buy an old horse box trailer the very next day! I’d never even towed a trailer in my life before, so I had to get a friend to come along to tow it home for me. When I got home with the trailer that evening the realisation had hit, I went white with fear and thought “what have I done”.
Next morning rolled around and the nerves had all but faded, it was time to knuckle down and put all my skills as a welder and fabricator to good use – I only had five weeks to convert the trailer for my first event in Belfast… talk about pressure!
Fast forward to 2018 and things were going great for Born & Raised Waffles, so well in fact I had a plan to build a second trailer, which had to be very quickly realised as I accidentally double booked an event and wedding! So with the help of some awesome people I had purchased and converted my second trailer MK2 in just three weeks. Now in 2019 MK1 and MK2 are in full flight all over Northern Ireland/Ireland, serving up the tastiest Belgian liege waffles this side of the Irish Sea!