‘ I tell the truth... sometimes I shouldn't'
“My Kitchen Rules keeps getting bigger and bigger, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down, and my role on it keeps growing.
I love it. It’s incredible to watch them go from pretty good home cooks to really good and skilled cooks by the end of it.
Life for me has changed in the past couple of years, since doing MKR. Everyone knows who I am now. It’s a little hard to get used to – it’s good when I can put on a motorbike helmet and go for a ride and no one knows who I am.
And you can’t just go out and get drunk anymore. It’s a doubleedged sword.
I also like to speak my mind. I tell the truth and sometimes I shouldn’t do that. But that’s how I’ve always been.
It can be a slippery slope, particularly on social media. There have been a few Twitter spats, I admit.
Maybe it’s the Irish upbringing, the fiery side. We like to have a little spat. Life’s too short to be pandering though, don’t you think?
I’m slowly getting better. I’m getting a little bit savvy but I still make mistakes. And obviously it is me who’s in the wrong sometimes. I can admit that.
When I was a kid, I wanted to be either a zookeeper, a rock star or a chef. I think I do a bit of all of that now.
I started out as a kitchen hand on the weekends for my cousin back in Dublin, washing pots and pans at an Italian restaurant. They’d give me little jobs every now and then.
It was just something that always interested me. My parents were great cooks, so it was bred into us.
After school, I went to college … and worked in Dublin. Then I went to work for Raymond Blanc. And that was hard.
I was cheeky before that, but I got it knocked out of me pretty quick. I realised how little I knew. It was 16-hour days in an old-school chef’s kitchen. It was pretty hardcore.
You need to love food. You need to be passionate. And you definitely need to not be counting hours and dollars – it’s the experience that counts.
It’s a hard life. Chef years are like dog years – you get older a lot faster. TV glamorises it a little bit. But life is pretty good, I have to say. I’m glad all of this is happening now and not when I was younger. Everything I’ve got now, I realise I’m lucky to have – the attention and everything else. I think if I was 22, I’d be a bit of a d---head, to be perfectly honest. But I’m 42 and I’m pretty grounded. I’ve just finished the lunch service, and after I finish speaking to you, I’m off to pick up my kids from school, then I’ll make dinner, then it’s back to the restaurant in time for service.”
MY KITCHEN RULES
SEVEN, SUNDAY, 7PM, MONDAY TO WEDNESDAY, 7.30PM