Voted first-place vendor at the Farmer’s Market in Clermont, Florida, recently, Allison Fogarty, 28, has been cooking up a storm for some pretty cute customers on a regular basis as the owner of DOGGY Delights By Allison.
Recently interviewed by Rachael Ray, we asked Allison how long she’s been a fan. She said, “Since I got sick when I was 11. I had to have a g-tube on my stomach, and I couldn’t eat or drink. That’s when I started watching The Food Channel. Now it’s my favorite thing to watch, because I love to cook.”
Inspired by Rachael Ray, Allison was thrilled to FaceTime with the star recently! (Watch the video by clicking here: https://www.rachaelrayshow.com/articles/this-27-year-old-chef-makes-homemade-treats-for-dogs-in-her-community-after-being-inspired)
Here’s how she describes the experience:
“Rachael said, ‘Hey Allison, would you like to cook with me on my show sometime?’ So, I will be going to New York to see her. Getting to know her was the best thing. She knows I shop at BJ’s, so she sent me a $500 gift card in the mail! She’s a big dog lover!
“What I like about Rachael is that she’s funny—like when she doesn’t measure anything. She always says, ‘I already eyeballed it.’
“I told her, ‘I would love to try your pizzania—it’s a cross between pizza and lasagna.’”
Allison can’t wait to make dog treats with Rachael Ray on her show! And since FaceTiming with the star, here’s how things have changed: “Now I’m a celebrity—I’ve been on the radio and TV many times. I’ve been on Channel 6, Channel 35, and Orlando 60. Some people say, ‘I think I should have you sign my dog treats—can I have your autograph?’”
Here’s the rest of Sam’s interview with Allison, who moved from Chicago (where she was very involved with the UPS for DownS organization) to Florida in 2017, and soon started her own business through the Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida’s very first Entrepreneur Academy.
“When we lived in Illinois, we did our first business called Lunch Break. It was for the teachers where my mom used to teach. We made and delivered about 30 lunches a week at her school—we did that job for 2 or 3 years, and then after that we moved here because we wanted to see my brother, Laura, and the kids. We started babysitting them every day—Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Fridays.
“DoggyDelights by Allison was my mom’s idea. We saw a lot of dogs in our neighborhood, passing by our lanai, and that gave her the idea. So we looked up all the recipes on her lap top, printed them, and tried them out. Then I’d say, ‘Hey mom let’s do this instead of that.’ So we started changing the recipes. Now we make flavors like chicken and rice, peanut butter, pumpkin, and sweet potato treats. We use no salt and no sugar, so they are very healthy and good for dogs.
People can order online—or we can deliver to their house—and we go to a farmer’s market on Sunday mornings.
“The best thing about my treats is I put them in the freeze dryer so they can be shipped. At the market, we also sell frozen treats. If dogs don’t have teeth, people can defrost them. We have a lot of toothless customers, because our treats are soft when you let them thaw.”
“Actually making the batter for the treats is my favorite part. My least favorite part is to put the batter in the silicone trays. I made 5 batches of sweet potato, and four batches of chicken and rice, and 6 batches of pumpkin treats today.
“My worst day was once at the farmer’s market it was so hot, and we weren’t getting any customers. I said, ‘This feels like a desert to me.’”
You’ve been through a lot of medical issues—what kinds of difficulties do you still face? “Some days, we take off. If I have a bad cold, it’s hard for me to be working at my job. But sometimes you gotta do it. My job gives me exercise, and I make new friends with dogs and their owners. Some of our customers come every week to talk and hang out.”
Allison’s mom, Pat, says their neighbors with dogs have really encouraged Allison. One neighbor took her to the rescue shelter to test out all the treats on the dogs there. The same neighbor also comes to the market every other week with dogs that need to be adopted. “And I always say, ‘I wish I could keep you,’” says Allison, who would like a dog.
Do you have a dog? “No. I have four cats. The cats don’t care about the treats, but when I make a big mess in the kitchen, they eat it.”
What are your goals for Doggy Delights? “My goals are to sell my treats in stores, and we are going to need help—we want to hire people with disabilities.”
What else do you hope to accomplish—what are your hopes and dreams? “I want to have a store or restaurant, or a shop for my treats with my own apartment above my shop.”
What do you want to be sure that everyone knows about you? “I am a chef, and I have my own business.”