Shape I'm In: Catherine Fulvio reveals her healthy tastes

TV CHEF and author Catherine Fulvio, has a place where she practises her own kind of mindfulness. At the back of her home, Ballyknocken House, Co Wicklow, there is a hill studded with trees. When in need of peace and quiet, she will take 10 minutes out to climb to the top. “I can see the Irish Sea from there and I can see the boats passing — the ferries going back and forth — and you can see the whole farm and everything that is going on in Ballyknocken.”

Married to Claudio, a Sicilian who works as an accountant, the couple have two children. Both are very interested in cooking. Charlotte, 11, is branching out to savoury dishes, while Rowan, nine, wants to cook “anything to do with sugar”.

nCatherine Fulvio is one of the top chefs at the Taste of Dublin 2013, a four day-event in the Iveagh Gardens, running from Jun 13 to 16.

What shape are you in?

I’m in pretty good shape. Running in and around the cookery school and looking after a herb and vegetable garden tend to keep you fit. I also walk the dog. I don’t have time for keep-fit classes. Life gets in the way.

Do you have any health concerns?

I am in perfect health. I go to see my GP about twice a year but I’d usually have a reason to go — a sore throat or a cold.

What are your healthiest eating habits?

I really like fruit and vegetables. I was born on a farm in Co Wicklow, so we are used to having lots of vegetables and fruits in season.

Also, being married to an Italian helps. The amount of fruit and veg in the Mediterranean diet are substantial.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

Dark chocolate — 72% coca solids. Not too sweet, not to bitter. I try to limit myself to two squares a day.

What would keep you awake at night?

I tend to be a reasonably good sleeper because I am very active during the day. I get about seven hours a night. But if I had little concerns about my children — that something wasn’t going so well in their lives — I’d lie awake thinking and thinking, trying to resolve it in my mind.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

Jamie Oliver, I like his approach to food, those bursts of flavour. Al Pacino, I’d have to have him — a bit of mystery there. And One Direction, to keep my daughter happy.

What chefs would you like to cook you dinner?

Jean-Christope Novelli or Aldo Zilli.

What are book are you currently reading?

The Wedding Officer by Anthony Capella — it’s based on the war in Italy and is fantastic. I absolutely adore reading. I find it great for relaxation when I go to bed.

Is there anything you would like to change about your appearance?

I’d like to lose a few pounds, like most people. But at this stage of my life I am more comfortable in my own skin.

What is your favourite smell?

The herb garden is just divine. The marjoram, the mint, the lemon balm, lemon verbena — it’s a cocktail of summer fragrances.

When did you last cry?

When someone asked me what age I was.

What trait do you least like in yourself?

I am one of these people who takes too much on. My time management is still terrible.

I have a system where I box everything off and then put each job into its relevant box.

It’s a much easier way to get through work rather than one massive, long list. It sounds convoluted but it works for me.

Do you pray?

I go to church a few times a year with the children and we pray together.

What would make you smile?

In our cookery school recently one of our students was a lovely lady in her 60s who didn’t cook much. During the class she announced that in all her life she had only learned to cook three recipes, so every time she had a dinner party she had to change her friends because she couldn’t change the recipe.

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