Ireland is a nation of storytellers. It’s a talent everyone seems to have. All we did was travel through the South West Coast, Cork and Dublin and we had enough interviews for Two One Hour Specials.
THIS is Part Two. It features some of Irelands most famous culinary stars and The Julia Child of Ireland.
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What a great line up. Award winning Chefs, teachers, writers, experts of all stripes.
We start in Cork City… South of Dublin on the West Coast of Ireland.
It’s the home of Café Paradiso, one of the best vegetarian restaurants anywhere.
It’s also the home of Chef Denis Cotter. Except for a pal Sharon Kelly, Denis is the only person I know in all of Ireland.
We had met at Hastings House on Salt Spring Island several years ago. He was cooking recipes from his award winning book For the Love of Food.
Denis’ frustration with the limitations of the vegetarian industry sparked the opening of Cafe Paradiso in 1993, to create an environment where he could evolve a personal style of cooking focused on the pleasure of food rather than the perceived negativity of vegetarianism.
Among the many awards bestowed on Cafe Paradiso, Denis Cotter was named “Chef of the Year” by the Irish magazine ‘Food & Wine’ in 2005, and “Best Chef in Cork” by the Restaurant Association of Ireland in 2009. Cafe Paradiso is listed as an icon in the “Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Eat in Ireland” guidebook. It was voted ‘Best Restaurant in Munster’ by the readers of ‘Food & Wine’ magazine in 2001, and the restaurant was also voted ‘Restaurant of the Year’ by Les Routiers Ireland in 2004.
Denis Cotter is the author of four cookbooks. Each has received critical acclaim, shortlist nominations and industry awards, including ‘best vegetarian cookbook in the world’ for the second volume, Paradiso Seasons.
Without any bit of shame I’m able to weasel Denis’ classic Irish Oatmeal recipe out of him. http://www.cafeparadiso.ie/
Joining us at the table is the one and only Darina Allen.
Darina is the most famous cook in Ireland. She has starred in her own RTE TV cooking shows, published 10 books starting with the Simply Delicious series, and received a dozen awards and prizes. Her most recent prize was the 2013 Cookbook of the Year award at the Irish Book Awards for her 30 Years at Ballymaloe: A Celebration of the World-Renowned Cookery School.
Ms Allen has been growing unusual food at Ballymaloe, Co Cork, for 40-odd years. Her 100-acre farm, with its acre of greenhouses, probably delivers a more diverse range of crops than any farm in Ireland. But the farm has produced something more spectacular than food: the world-famous Ballymaloe Cooking School which invites the world’s top chefs to its doors and its classrooms, and sends out successive waves of alumni to run restaurants all over the World.
A tireless ambassador for Irish food both at home and abroad, Darina has been instrumental in setting up the Farmers’ Market Movement in Ireland. Slow Food is a passion for her, and she is the councilor for Ireland in the Slow Food Movement and President of East Cork Convivium of Slow Food. Through the East Cork Educational Fund, she runs a programme for local primary schools to help local children learn about food from garden to plate.
In 2013 she helped launch the Ballymaloe Literary Festival of food and Wine which features a stellar line up of chefs and writers and has very quickly become an not to be missed event on the international culinary calendar.
L Mulligan Grocer – Dublin
The question wasn’t would I visit the famous L Mulligan Grocer in Dublin? It was how fast could I get there and how long could I stay.
L Mulligan Grocer has been on the Dublin scene for the past few years and has been quietly building a great reputation as a pub worth going quite off the beaten track for. It is located in Stoneybatter, a residential area about 20 minutes walk west from Dublin city’s main tourist drag of Temple Bar. It provides thoughtful, well sourced gastropub food, and is possibly the only pub in Dublin that does not sell Guinness. A bold move, justified by its focus on small, high quality craft beers from Ireland and abroad.
Our guests are Seaneen Sullivan Co-Owner and Adam Kilbane The Manager and Beer Specialist.
This was great fun.
Catherine Cleary – Food Journalist for The Irish Times
Catherine went from working the crime beat to the culinary arts. Or as she says
“I went from Murder to Meringue”
There’s been such an improvement in Irish food over the past 20 years that it falls on someone to tell their stories.
That someone is Catherine Cleary.
Catherine Cleary is an award-winning journalist. She began her career as a news reporter with The Irish Times and became the paper’s drugs and crime correspondent. She later joined the Sunday Tribune as its security correspondent. She began writing about food almost a decade ago and now writes a weekly restaurant column for The Irish Times.
… and we finish our Ireland tour with the highly qualified John McKenna.
John McKenna was born in Belfast and first qualified as a Barrister at Law. In addition to his legal work, John worked as a journalist in Dublin, writing particularly for Hot Press and In Dublin Magazine.
In 1991 John and Sally McKenna began their research into Irish food, giving up their Dublin flat, and splurging on a broken-down Renault 4. They set off around Ireland to discover what they hoped would be an exciting food culture, and John has written about Irish food ever since.
John and Sally McKenna
John McKenna has won numerous awards for his food writing . A long-time writer for the Irish Times, contributor to RTE television and news programmes, John also has written for various international publications, including The Art of Eating. He is regarded as a leading commentator on Irish food.
John and Sally McKenna’s annual 100 Best Restaurants in Ireland is the most radical guide to the cutting-edge of Irish cooking. With the 2015 smartguide edition, the McKennas rewrite the book, crowning Galway as the finest city to eat in Ireland and, for the first time ever, including food carts and a food shack amongst the 100 hottest places to eat throughout the country.
If you’re travelling to Ireland check out their websites, blogs and books.
Many thanks to Irish tourism in Toronto and Dublin. www.irishtourism.com
Meg, Kate and Pete and everyone we met.
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STORIES WE’RE WORKING ON:
Catching up with The Wine Diva
Okanagan Falls wineries in Vancouver