Irish chefs unveil their favourite summer recipes

Where would our top chefs eat if they had the pick of the country’s restaurants and who would they dine with? Six of the biggest names in Irish food tell all — and unveil their all-time favourite summer recipe, writes Joe McNamee


Michelin-starred chef/proprietor, Restaurant Chestnut, Ballydehob, West Cork

First Taste

I must have been about three or four, stealing sweets from the kitchen with my brother, eating chewing gum, and eating peas from the greenhouse.

First ‘restaurant’ meal?

The Courtyard, in Schull. All I wanted was chicken and ketchup.

I must have been seven or eight. You can’t go wrong with chicken and ketchup, I still like it.

Most memorable meal

I love the simple things, eating a crab sandwich in Crookhaven on a sunny day. The best fancy meal was in L’Enclume, in England, with Elaine [Fleming, partner] and some friends about two years ago; very casual, not stuffy, and the food was very good. I’ve had lots of amazing meals in my mum and dad’s as well.

A detested ingredient or food stuff?

I’m not crazy about coriander — I got food poisoning from a lamb dish that had lots of it and I associate it with that. Also, the smell of lamb kidneys gets me.

Cook them medium well but anything less than that and I can’t handle it.

What does ‘Irish cuisine’ mean to you?

As Irish chefs, we are identifying with our ingredients and Irish cuisine means using the very best of our local, seasonal ingredients which will eventually evolve a uniquely Irish cuisine. I’ve been lucky enough to travel quite a bit and realise how lucky we are to have such superb ingredients.

Favourite Irish dish?

Traditional bacon and cabbage can be really good, I quite like a nice boiled ham.

Favourite Irish ingredient?

It all depends on the season: at the moment, carrots are bang on; lovage, very under-rated.

When asparagus is done and running to seed, asparagus shoots are probably my favourite along with wild fennel pollen.

Favourite Irish restaurant?

Forrest and Marcy is a cracking restaurant, Ciarán [Sweeney] is a great chef. I love Niall Sabongi’s [Klaw Seafood Cafe] lobster roll—you can’t go wrong with a lobster roll, eat too many and you’ll get gout but you’ll take the risk.

Favourite comfort food?

Chicken and ketchup [laughing], this is not going well! Bangers and mash — really good sausage and buttery spuds; great hangover food, cheese and toast with Worcester sauce.

Which five guests, dead or alive, would you invite to your dream dinner party, excluding family and friends?

I wouldn’t be going for the chefs as we’d only talk about food and I like standup comedy so I’d go for comedians: Graham Norton, Keith Lemon and the Italian guy on that show. [Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement] from Flight of the Conchords. Actually, chef Gino D’Campo but only because he’s funny.

What would you choose as your dream meal to serve to these special guests?

Mexican food, ceviche, tacos, lots of different dishes, nothing in particular, it’s just very sociable, you sit around and talk.

And margaritas to drink!


Serves 4


(We always use fresh, local, seasonal ingredients in Restaurant Chestnut so feel free to experiment with other ingredients as they come into season)

  • 8 spears asparagus
  • 8 pea pods, shelled
  • 4 small beetroots, roughly golf ball-sized
  • 4 small carrots, approx. 10-14cm long
  • 200g spinach leaves, stalks removed
  • 1 litre carrot juice
  • 250g soft goats cheese
  • 30ml olive oil
  • 200g mustard leaves
  • 1/2 cup brassica shoots and flowers (from brassicas flowering and running to seed)
  • Parsley
  • Chive flowers to garnish
  • Nasturtiums to garnish
  • Charcoal oil or good extra virgin olive oil (Yes, I admit charcoal oil is quite a ‘cheffy’ ingredient but it lends a wonderful smoky, BBQ flavour — but good extra virgin olive oil is also delicious.)
  • Carrot Vinaigrette

    Reduce 1 litre carrot juice by 60% in a pot over low to medium heat, add splash of white wine vinegar to taste Goat’s Cheese Mousse In a bowl, whisk goat’s cheese with 30ml olive oil until smooth, season to taste.

    Spinach Puree

    Prepare a large boil of iced water. Bring large pot of water to boil, blanch spinach leaves for 30 seconds and cool in iced water. Blitz spinach in blender until smooth (don’t season until just prior to serving as salt will turn puree brown).


    Place in saucepan of boiling salted water, return to boil, then simmer until skin peels off easily, approx. 45 minutes. Leave to cool.


    Place in saucepan of boiling salted water, return to boil and then simmer for two minute. Remove, rub skin off with clean tea towel, and leave to cool.


    Remove woody stems and cut off top inch of each spear and reserve. Prepare bowl of iced water. Blanch the ends of asparagus in boiling salted water for 20 seconds, cool in iced water, pat dry with paper towel, and dice.

    To serve

    Season spinach purée and whisk into goat’s cheese mousse.

    Place quenelle of goat’s cheese mousse in the middle of a large flat plate or bowl.

    Cut beetroot in half, place two halves to the left of goat’s cheese mousse.

    Place carrot to the right of goat’s cheese mousse.

    Dress leaves and asparagus with charcoal oil/extra virgin olive oil and place around the plate, scatter podded peas over the salad, and finish garnishing with the flowers.


    Dublin-born chef/proprietor, Myrtle restaurant, London; formerly head chef, Gordon Ramsey London

    First Taste

    Cheddar cheese or hazelnut yogurt. I hated cheese as a kid but love it now. I truly feel bad for people who are dairy intolerant. Hazelnut yogurt was on my favourites list as a kid.

    First ‘restaurant’ meal?

    In France where I lunged excitedly for a piece of preserved white asparagus, thinking it was squid — my mother tried to stop me but she was too slow for this greedy guts. The sweet chew of squid wasn’t there; it was a tangy, not yet acquired taste, bitter, soft mush and it wasn’t pleasant.

    Most memorable meal

    Pierre Gagnaire in his Parisian three-star restaurant; a long time ago but it really impacted on me. Many restaurants had an impact before that — French Laundry, The Fat Duck — but I was a fully trained, experienced chef at that stage and really understood what was going on. It was so solid, so underworked in its perfection. I understood food by the time I ate there. I saw the extra details and truly understood the finesse and could feel the magical experience. I had a 50-year-old oyster cooked at my table. PG was there, a real character. There was even a little chair for my handbag — I was born for fine dining and I was really happy to spend my money on it!

    A detested ingredient or food stuff?

    I like everything but even though I love a good cauliflower purée or veloute, I’d rather drink cold sick than eat a boiled piece.

    What does ‘Irish cuisine’ mean to you?

    It means food today but I believe tomorrow it will mean an experience and stories. It’s a tricky question cos people want to challenge you in a negative way — English and Irish people — which is so insulting. Do they think we were eating grass for a thousand or more years? We put a pause button on our cuisine but I do think it is coming back.

    Favourite Irish dish?

    Coddle. Proper white coddle, none of that brown or red coddle. Good old-school, boiled coddle, maybe with a little dash of finesse but the bones of it would still be Dublin coddle.

    Favourite Irish ingredient?

    Coolea cheese. Or maybe St Tola goat’s cheese. Or olive-fed pork? No, no, oysters. Or seaweed? Why are you making me choose?!

    Favourite Irish restaurant?

    L’Écrivain. How could I choose anywhere else? I learned so much there, not just as a cook but as a host. Derry and Sally Ann are born hosts.

    Favourite comfort food?

    Mash and gravy — you can throw in a few veggies and meat but it’s the mash and gravy that gives me the cuddles.

    Which five guests, dead or alive, would you invite to your dream dinner party, excluding family and friends?

    I know I should be saying Maya Angelou, Bob Dylan, Eugenie Brazier, Amy Poehler, and Greg Davies but I’d really choose my mam Wendy, dad Joe, sisters, Catherine and Sarah, and my brother Anthony. As I get older my time with them is more and more special.

    What would you choose as your dream meal to serve to these special guests?

    Roast chicken, the usual trimmings, with a Greek salad on the side and finish with mam’s lemon, lime, and pineapple cheesecake — her own invention.


    (Cooking method: Deep-fried at 170C for four minutes)

    Potato Spaghetti

  • 200g peeled potatoes cut on a spiraliser
  • 50ml vegetable oil (separate to deep-frying oil)
  • Blanch potato spaghetti in boiling water for five seconds, plunge into iced water. Strain, dress with vegetable oil, and rest.

    Black Pudding mix

  • 150g black pudding
  • 40g chicken breast
  • 10g egg white
  • 40g double cream
  • 200ml of chicken stock
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 2 sheets of filo pastry
  • 50g clarified butter
  • Garnish: 1 pink lady apple
  • Apple Puree

  • 2 Braeburn apples peeled and chopped
  • 30g butter
  • 20ml double cream
  • Pinch of salt
  • Cook apple in butter and cream and puree until smooth.

    Put chicken into food processor with pinch of salt, blend to a puree, add egg white and blend for further five seconds. Remove and slowly beat in cream.

    Crumble black pudding into bowl, add cream, and, using spatula, make a paste. Put in piping bag.

    Melt clarified butter and brush one sheet of filo pastry.

    Place other sheet on top, cut into four. Brush each square with clarified butter, pipe black pudding mix along one edge, roll pastry around it into tube shape and place in fridge. Repeat with other three filo squares.

    When rolls are chilled , remove one at a time and wrap in potato spaghetti.

    When you are ready to serve, deep fry rolls at 170C for four minutes. Serve with thinly sliced apple and apple puree.


    Darina Allen owns and runs Ballymaloe Cookery School in Shanagarry, Co Cork. (

    First Taste

    My mother’s food obviously, maybe her brown soda bread.

    First ‘restaurant’ meal?

    Going to a restaurant was a rare thing when I was a child but my father loved rugby and the races and he’d often take me and a couple of the boys and afterwards we’d go to one of his favourite places, The Clarence — now owned by U2. It had white starched linen, huge amount of cutlery, head waiter in tails, and the rest in dress suits. We’d eat plaice a la meuniere and lamb’s kidney omelette. It was so exotic!

    Most memorable meal

    For my 50th we went to Mexico to visit Mayan ruins in the jungle, travelling upriver in dugout canoes and then walking through the jungle with our trousers tucked into our socks in case of snakes. It was sweltering, so hot, and seemed to take forever. A Mexican woman made a fire in the ground and cooked simple ground minced lamb with cumin and lots of rice. I hate Coca Cola, I never drink it, but, on this day, it was like an oasis. After, there was superbly ripe pineapple from a cooler box, cut it into wedges. It was amazing; the flavours, the situation, the experience.

    A detested ingredient or food stuff?

    Apart from the masses of fake stuff on the shelves of

    so many shops today, I am not afraid of foods: I’ve eaten crickets, tarantula, snake, but I’m not mad about brains, I think it’s the textures.

    What does ‘Irish cuisine’ mean to you?

    It is so diverse now, so many young adventurous, confident chefs cooking so brilliantly and though I am hugely proud and delighted, I keep hoping they don’t start thinking the Michelin style is the only style — the skid marks on plates, the tiny bites — and remember to incorporate some of our traditional foods, techniques, and dishes.

    I love when a restaurant has the confidence to do ‘food from here’.

    Favourite Irish dish?

    I’m torn between Irish stew and bacon, cabbage, champ, and parsley sauce.

    If I do a dinner party and cook either of those, it doesn’t matter who is around the table, from London, NYC, Shanghai, wherever, they love it and all tuck in.

    Favourite Irish ingredient?

    It’s hard to beat fantastic native Irish oysters in season when the weather is very cold.

    Favourite Irish restaurant?

    At the moment, Assassination Custard in Dublin. Two tables, lots of little small plates.

    I just love the way they cook: Creative, exciting, yet simple food with such a sure sense of taste —and it’s quirky and fun!

    Favourite comfort food?

    A fried egg cooked in olive oil with sage leaves, or even a boiled egg, straight from the hen house with soldiers. It has to be super fresh, though — if its yesterday’s egg, I’m sniffy.

    Which five guests, dead or alive, would you invite to your dream dinner party, excluding family and friends?

    Michelle and Barack Obama, [Slow Food founder] Carlo Petrini, [Sustainable Food Trust founder] Patrick Holden, and Leo Varadkar — the first four to persuade Leo to be super radical and make a huge leap environmentally; it is the biggest issue facing mankind.

    What would you serve to these special guests?

    Whatever is in the garden right now: Asparagus on toast with hollandaise made with good Irish butter; lamb with fresh mint sauce, new potatoes with seaweed butter, cut-and-come kale; green salad of foraged greens; roast rhubarb with carrageen moss, soft brown sugar, and cream.

    Other than lamb from the butcher, it would be all absolutely of this place.


    This combination makes an irresistible starter but can also be served family style for lunch or supper.

    Serves 8

  • 1kg (2 1/4lbs) young beetroot
  • 3-4 Cox’s Orange Pippin apples, peeled and diced in 7mm dice
  • 3 tablespoons (4-5 American tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 2-3 handfuls of rocket leaves
  • a handful of mint leaves
  • 12-16g (1/2oz approx) Iranian pistachio nuts, halved
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Horseradish Crème Fraîche (see recipe)
  • slices of grilled sourdough to taste
  • Preheat the oven to 230˚C/450˚F/Gas Mark 8.

    Wrap the beetroot in foil and roast for 30 minutes — 1 hour until soft and cooked through or until the skins will rub off.

    Cut the beetroot into chunks and place in a bowl. Add the apple. Toss in the oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Halve the pomegranate and pop out the seeds.

    Cover the base of each serving plate with rocket. Spread the beetroot and apple mixture over the leaves. Scatter the mint over the top and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and pistachio nuts.

    Serve with Hor sera dish Crème Fraîche and some slices of grilled sourdough.

    Horseradish Crème Fraîche

    Serve with beef, smoked sprats mackerel, haddock and roast beetroot.

    Serves 6-8

  • 2 tablespoons (2 1/2 American tablespoons) freshly grated horseradish
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 225g (8oz) crème fraîche
  • Put the grated horseradish into a bowl. Add a little freshly squeezed lemon juice, honey and crème fraîche. Mix gently to combine.

    Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.


    Chef/proprietor, Kai Restaurant, Galway

    First Taste

    We had a Mirabelle plum tree in the backyard in NZ, tiny little yellow fruit, never knew what they were but we used to eat them. I loved them!

    First ‘restaurant’ meal?

    Growing up in NZ was probably the same as Ireland in years gone by, you didn’t go till you were 18! I was in culinary college in Wellington and we went to Meccano. My dad and my uncle were big hunters and we had mallard all my life but this was the first time I’d had confit duck and it just blew my mind. It didn’t taste like gamey duck, the fat was really crispy, not wet fat like the mallard.

    Most memorable meal

    We go to Bras [in Italy] for the Slow Food Cheese convivium and we stay near a little co-op run by a group of friends who do amazing wines. It’s a really small menu. You can get a ragu, a block of Giorgio’s Cravero’s amazing parmesan wrapped in tin foil served with a box grater at your table, beautiful wine and that’s it, me and [husband] Dave, sitting under the grapevines, right next to the castle. Just beautiful and silent. Then we have gelato for dessert — where would you be going?

    A detested ingredient or food stuff?

    I really like peaches but I can’t touch my nails off the skin — every time I work with them I put on plastic gloves because every time I touch them, my tongue hits the roof of my mouth, I wince and it gives me the heebie jeebies. My dad and cousins are the same. If someone peels it, I’m fine, and my favourite dessert is peach Melba.

    What does ‘Irish cuisine’ mean to you?

    Irish food to me is about community, hospitality and the ingredients, the produce. You can’t beat Irish hospitality, the Irish have a certain knack for it, something I haven’t seen anywhere else in the world. It doesn’t have to be the finest dining but they have the kind of cop-on to know what you want before you even order it.

    Favourite Irish dish?

    Mackerel fried with polenta and butter and served with a gooseberry chutney — either Rory [O’Connell] or Darina’s chutney recipe, I’ve forgotten — it describes everything about Irish food to me.

    Favourite Irish ingredient?

    Strawberries and elderflower, together, because they represent a long hard winter ending. It really brings me, as a foreigner living in Ireland, a sense of place and belonging — I’m slowly becoming Irish now. I was in NZ three years ago on holidays — sunshine, beautiful location, but I realised I was homesick for Galway. I missed our butter, I missed our spuds, I missed our pals.

    Favourite Irish restaurant?

    Farmgate, in Cork. When I’m in Cork I always go for an Irish stew — and probably Ox Belfast. That’s the yin and yang of Irish restaurants.

    Favourite comfort food?

    My sous chef Hannah is from America and she makes the most amazing macaroni and cheese and no one can top an American making mac and cheese or nachos, my two fave things of all time.

    Which five guests, dead or alive, would you invite to your dream dinner party, excluding family and friends?

    Number one has to be Rory O’Connell, Julia Childs, Diana Kennedy, who writes about Mexican food, Simon Hopkinson and Nigel Slater.

    What would you choose as your dream meal to serve to these special guests?

    Brandade and crudités, then lobster garlic butter and spuds, a token green salad with Marie Rose dressing, and then retire to my dream garden to eat fig leaf ice cream sandwiches and drink rosé.


  • 250ml full fat milk
  • 4 large fig leaves
  • 125g sugar
  • 500ml heavy cream (Jersey)
  • 7 egg yolks
  • Method

    Gently heat milk and cream. Mix egg yolk and sugar in a separate bowl.

    Bring milk/cream nearly to boiling point. Add slowly to egg/sugar mix, whisking vigorously.

    When well combined, return to pot, heat to 72C.

    Place fig leaves in mix, leave overnight to cool and infuse. Once cool, churn in ice-cream machine.

    (If you don’t have an icecream machine, cool mix for one hour, place in chilled loaf tin, cover with clingfilm, freeze for six hours. Remove, break into pieces in mixing bowl, whisk for three minutes until smooth. Return to loaf tin or plastic container, freeze for four hours until ready to serve.)


    Chef & consultant, Baxter Storey Ireland, chef on TV3’s The Restaurant

    First Taste

    Gooseberries. There were bushes outside my godmother Katie B’s house, rows of them, and we’d stuff our faces even before they were ripe, even today sourness is one of my favourite tastes.

    Can you remember your first ‘restaurant’ meal? Did you like it?

    In the Steakhouse in Ramelton for my First Communion. I’ve no idea what I ate other than creamed potatoes. As far as my daddy was concerned, a restaurant was judged on how much spuds you were served and, at that age, I was of the same opinion.

    Most memorable meal

    I thought a meal in Manchester, cooked by Adam Reid while he was working for Simon Rogan, could never be topped but myself and Frankie ‘Fish’ [Mallon, chef/proprietor, An Port Mór] and some friends went to Nine Arches, in Ballymahon, Co Longford, last summer. The chef is one of my old staff, Daniel Skukalek. He cooked six or seven courses off menu and I’ll never forget it till the day I die. He is one of the best young chefs in the country, blew my mind, just the most accomplished bit of cooking I’ve ever experienced and that’s saying something, cos Adam Reid was the best up to that.

    A detested ingredient or food stuff?

    Tea! I hate tea! The smell in particular, the look, nothing turns my stomach more than the sight of it. As an Irishman coming from a home where five minutes doesn’t go by without the teapot going on, four of the seven of us despise the stuff!

    What does ‘Irish cuisine’ mean to you?

    I don’t want to sound cliched but it’s always been about the land and the ingredients. I think we’re going to have a real modern Irish cuisine but some of the chefs put seaweed, buttermilk, and yoghurt on a plate and say that’s Irish cuisine, which is kind of nonsense. I think of Derry Clarke, Ross Lewis — classically trained, using Irish ingredients.

    Favourite Irish dish?

    A loin of Sika deer with a herbed crust, sitting on candied turnip and smoked chestnut puree. This is not the likes of colcannon but my favourite Irish ingredient is wild Sika wild deer.

    Favourite Irish restaurant?

    My current favourite is Thyme in Athlone, I think John Coffey is the most underappreciated chef in the country and I would be amazed if a Michelin bib gourmand at least doesn’t drop on it this year.

    Favourite comfort food?

    John Stone beef sirloin steak, rubbed with rock salt, dry pan, smoking hot — the thicker the steak the better. Eventually it starts drawing out that marbling and cooks on its own fat, chips, peppercorn sauce, a lovely Rioja — I’m milling into it!

    Which five guests, dead or alive, would you invite to your dream dinner party, excluding family and friends?

    Gary Neville, Alex Ferguson, for obvious reasons, given my love of Man United; Tommy Tiernan, funniest human alive, very intelligent man; Kelly Jones, lead singer of Stereophonics, one of the greatest voices of all time; Brian Walsh, commissioning editor at RTÉ to give me a chance to convince him to give me a show. I’m one of the last prominent Irish chefs not to have one. I’ve met him a few times and like him but if he got to know me more, got to know me proper, he might be open to giving a brother a break!

    What would you choose as your dream meal to serve to these special guests?

    Braised pig cheeks with a celeriac and onion emulsion, potato crisps, pickled mustard seed and some Bianchetti truffles; a Granny Smith sorbet as a cleanser finish with alcohol-infused grated Granny Smith; Donegal turbot on the bone, buttery kale, pomme fondant and sauce bordelaise which turbot can carry; vanilla bean and ginger creme brûlée. And a bubbly!


    Serves 4



  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 70ml vegetable oil
  • Chicken

  • 4 small bone-in free range chicken breasts

  • Fine sea salt & white pepper to season

  • Drizzle of olive oil

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 4 sprigs thyme

  • 4 knobs butter

  • ½ lemon

  • 4tbspn frozen peas (fresh when in season)

  • 1 knob of butter

    Chorizo Nage

  • ¼ fire roasted red bell pepper, diced finely

  • 80g chorizo, diced finely

  • 50g walnuts

  • 1tsp Chinese five spice

  • 2tbspn brown sugar

  • 100ml water


  • 50g Aged Parmesan

  • 6 eggs

  • 50g double cream

  • 1tsp truffle oil

  • 3 pinches white pepper

  • Pea Shoots to garnish


    Pre-heat oven to 200C.

    Place walnuts, brown sugar, 5 spice, water into small ovenware dish, mix well. Place in oven, roast for 8 minutes, remove, mix well, return to oven. Continue to roast until sugar/water slightly caramelises and walnuts slightly char.

    Remove walnuts to cool and crystallize, then grind into powder, set aside.

    Blitz marinade ingredients with hand blender, season chicken well with fine sea salt and white pepper then rub with marinade. (Ideally, do this day prior to cooking or at least 2 hours prior.)


    Crumb the cheese in Thermomix for 10 seconds.

    Add in cream and eggs, cook for 7 minutes on speed 5 @ 70 degrees. Remove from the bowl, add in the truffle oil and season to taste. The sauce will thicken as it comes back down to room temperature so don’t worry if it is slightly thin on consistency when it is taken out of the Thermomix.

    (**If you don’t have a thermomix, melt 50g of butter, add 1 Knorr chicken stock cube (chef cheat), whisk in 50g of flour, mix over very low heat for 4 minutes. Heat 500ml milk and 1/2 onion studded with 2 bay leaves and four cloves. When hot, strain and add to roux. Slowly cook out béchamel sauce, stirring until it thickens. Add 70g grated cheese, season to taste and serve.)


    Pre-heat oven to 180C. Heat heavy-based frying pan and add chicken, skin-side down.

    Pan fry until skin is golden then turn and add garlic cloves, thyme and butter. When butter foams, squeeze in juice from lemon and baste over chicken for approx. 1 minute then place into oven until cooked through. (approx. 8-12 minutes)

    Place chorizo onto a cold frying pan and turn heat up.

    Slowly fry until all oil is rendered out then remove to some kitchen paper. Wipe off oil from pan, place the chorizo back in along with peppers and mix well. Slowly add spiced walnut crumb to bind the mixture (sufficiently ‘sticky’ to form quenelle; dry, but not overly dry). Bring small pot of water to boil, add peas. Return to boil for 30 seconds, strain, add knob of butter, season and stir. To serve, drizzle generous amount of parmesan mornay onto plate, cut the chicken into two and arrange high, sprinkle tbspn of chorizo nage around chicken followed by tbspn of petit pois then garnish with some lovely pea shoots.


    Michelin-starred chef, Mews Restaurant, Baltimore, West Cork

    First Taste

    Our house had a beautiful garden with beautiful fruit trees, mulberry, cherries, and olives so I remember those.

    First ‘restaurant’ meal?

    We went out with my uncle and his wife and mom and dad in Ankara, in Turkey, I was probably eight or nine; beautiful seafood, great to be at a table, and spending a good couple of hours and food kept coming. My mum is an amazing cook and mother of three kids and a lot of uncles and cousins grew up in the same four-storey apartment and food was always there and we all ate together so going out with the family stays in my memory.

    Most memorable meal

    Libriye in Holland was my first three-Michelin-star restaurant and I was blown away. Immaculate service, food was amazing, I was just blown away. Beautiful langoustine, almost raw, brined in their own kombucha, torched on the outside, bouillon around it — so delicious.

    A detested ingredient or food stuff?

    I am very easy, I eat anything. Growing up as a Muslim kid, it was put in my head not to eat pork but since becoming a chef I’ve eaten all of it, from nose to tail, from top to toes, and it’s tasty, especially smoked bacon!

    What does ‘Irish cuisine’ mean to you?

    I’ve learned a lot in the last three years cooking the local ingredients. Because of the Famine and being under the British rule means there isn’t a large amount of widely known traditional dishes, but now it is a progressing cuisine, growing shape, all the chefs from Ireland and abroad putting shape on it, traditional but new, and in 100 years’ time they will look back on this as an important time.

    Favourite Irish dish?

    For a traditional dish, colcannon, with some nice fried cabbage.

    Favourite Irish ingredient?

    Since living in Baltimore, the Cape Clear asparagus, I’m in love with this beautiful ingredient from a beautiful island. It just finished last week, no more for the year — and I love the wild blackberries as well.

    Favourite Irish restaurant?

    I love Ballymaloe because of what they do, what they stand for as much as the food. They present something that is Ireland. And I also love Chapter One [where Dede worked in the past] representing Ireland very well on a high level.

    Favourite comfort food?

    As a Turkish man, I grew up eating a lot of street food, kebabs, fried fish, fried veg, and I’m a big fan. I’m a big fan of Asian food ramen, dim sum, all that kind of stuff.

    Which five guests, dead or alive, would you invite to your dream dinner party, excluding family and friends?

    Mustafa Kamal Attaturk, the amazing man who won freedom for Turkey. Mohammed Ali. Vincent van Gogh, an amazing artist. Mozart, I just love his music, such a gifted man, I began to listen to a lot of classical music after my mid-twenties. My legendary hip hop artist, Tupac, I love hip hop!

    What would you choose as your dream meal to serve to these special guests?

    I’m going to cook them Turkish cos I’m a Turkish man, lentil soup with chilli, mint and yoghurt. Then manti, tiny pasta parcels filled with minced lamb, herbs, and spices and served with a beautiful fresh tomato sauce with garlic and mint and roasted chopped fresh almonds. Lahmacun, it’s almost like a pizza, really thin dough topped with onion, red and green peppers, parsley, chilies, and beef, and cooked in one minute in a wood-fired oven, served with fresh lemon juice and fresh parsley. We eat a lot of meat, a good piece of lamb shoulder with a glaze of Turkish honey and cumin, cooked nice and soft and finished on the BBQ for lovely smokey flavours, served with bulgur salad, flatbread and a nice glass of pomegranate sherbet with lots of ice. Finish with sweet baklava, layers of filo pastry served with beautiful Turkish pistachios and an ice cream made of kaymak, almost a Turkish mascarpone, and then finish the meal with al Turkish coffee and a glass of water on the side.


    Celeriac Velouté

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 35ml rapeseed oil
  • 500gm celeriac (retain celeriac stems for pickled stems below), diced
  • 700ml water
  • 40gm celery leaves, roughly chopped
  • 40gm flat parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • Salt
  • Pickled Celeriac Stems

  • 100gm basil vinegar (wash cup of crushed basil, leave to infuse in gently warmed 500ml white wine vinegar for at least 48 hours; our basil vinegar is now six years old and works with all kinds of dishes!)
  • 100gm sugar
  • 200gm water
  • 100gm diced celeriac stems
  • Bitter Pesto

  • 250gm mix ‘bitter’ leaves (kale, spinach, mustard greens, wasabi leaves)
  • 50gm Rapseed oil
  • 5gm salt
  • Lemon zest
  • (In the restaurant, we would also add 5gm each of dehydrated and powder Herb Alexander and Sweet Cicely.)

    300gm Aged Coolea Cheese (or good Parmesan)

  • Selection of summer flowers and salad leaves to garnish, depending on what is available and in season. (eg Marigold flowers, rocket flowers, wild rocket, red amaranth, Asian greens, pokchoi, borage flowers, tagete flowers.)
  • Celeriac Velouté

    Sweat onions and garlic without colouring.

    Add diced celeriac, sauté for several minutes.

    Add water and bring to a simmer for five minutes. Add chopped leaaves. Turn off heat and puree in blender, seasoning with salt to taste.

    Pickled Celeriac Stems

    Bring vinegar, sugar and water to boil. Cool and then add diced celeriac stems and leave for 24 hours.

    Bitter Leaves Pesto

    Heat a pot, add oil and quickly sauté mixed bitter leaves in hot pot. Season with salt (and dried herb powders if you’ve managed to make them!), add lemon zest to taste.

    To plate

    Pour one ladle of Celeriac Velouté onto centre of a flat plate with raised rim, to cover roughly half of plate surface. Sprinkle teaspoon of Pickled Celeriac stems on top.

    Drizzle with Bitter Leaves Pesto.

    Arrange Mixed Salad Leaves on flat round plate. Spray leaves with basil vinegar. Pile flowers/petals on top, building a small ‘mountain’. Sprinkle grated Coolea Cheese all over.

    More on this topic

    Food to grow: Junior lessons in nutrition

    The Currabinny cooks celebrate the courgette

    Batch of Bandon Co-op butter recalled due to Listeria

    Darina Allen: Cooking with gooseberries... The forgotten fruit

    More in this Section

    Characters and craic await at Sligo coastline

    Living in a glasshouse: Meet stained-glass artist Alison Byrne

    Your guide to buying art

    7 reasons why Rome is the family-friendly city break of your dreams

    Latest Showbiz

    Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine diagnosed with throat cancer

    Isle of Wight festival boss hits out after Jess Glynne cancels gig 10 minutes beforehand

    Jeremy Kyle turns down request by MPs to face grilling

    Women’s Aid release a statement addressing Joe's behavior on Love Island

    More From The Irish Examiner