Career Changes Series – Meet Clair Dowling – Tiller & Grain


Meet Clair Dowling

In this interview, Azon’s founder Ronan Colleran meets Clair Dowling, founder of Tiller & Grain, an award-winning food emporium in Dublin 2, to discuss her inspiring and intriguing career journey.


Clair shares how she started out studying IT at Trinity College Dublin, and quickly moved towards her area of interest in property, and specifically in the commercial property arena. Clair also took the opportunity to gain professional Property experience in the UK, which broadened her horizons and gave her additional life experiences.

Career transitions

So after seven years developing her experience in Property in Ireland and the UK, and the fur-lined mouse-trap of the associated remuneration package, Clair decided to take the plunge and follow her passion and leave that behind to re-train as a Chef. How does someone make the leap from a successful career in property to running their own food business? For Clair, it’s a blend of following her passion and striving for a solution that would ultimately “Feed the soul”. This must be underscored with the good foundations of training and learning the craft from ground zero with known experts including Ottolenghi.

Core Principles

Clair has some core principles that she is really consistent about:
– Follow your passion
– The quality of the food – no compromise on quality. She cares deeply about sourcing and providing the highest quality food produce
– Work life balance – Clair is now leading and growing a business that delivers to a high standard, without sacrificing quality, at a scale that is sustainable.
– Happiness of the team – it’s clear that Clair cares deeply about having a happy team around her, who are as passionate as she is, about what they do.

Key takeaways

Clair’s story is an inspirational one, and one where we get a very clear view of what is possible when we use our time well, work hard to learn and evolve, and when we move towards the things that we are passionate about. Clair shares her own mantra when asked for a single kernel of advice: “Learn your trade” – great advice to us all to keep honing our skills and building expertise to set ourselves apart, as Clair has done.

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