Der­val O’Rourke

Irish Examiner - Weekend - - Inside -­ Pic­tures: Miki Bar­lok

This week’s col­umn is a bit of back­ground about my work and my team. I’m talk­ing all about slow cook­ing for my recipes.

Most weeks I get asked the ques­tion “Oh you’re that run­ner, so what are you up to now?” I’m in­volved in a lot and I hope this week’s col­umn gives some back­ground to that.

To sim­plify what I do, each week is sep­a­rated into three ar­eas.

Firstly there is brand/ me­dia work. Gen­er­ally, this means work­ing with brands/com­pa­nies as an am­bas­sador. I do am­bas­sador work be­cause it means work­ing on longer-term cam­paigns and build­ing a good re­la­tion­ship with peo­ple. Plus, I get to work with prod­ucts that I re­ally like and use all the time. The me­dia work that I do is var­ied. I’ve just fin­ished film­ing Ire­land’s Fittest

Fam­ily and I’ll ap­pear as a pan­elist on Ire­land’s Great­est Sport­ing Mo­ments in the com­ing weeks. I’m also an athletics an­a­lyst on RTÉ’s cov­er­age of athletics. Al­though the TV work is very vis­i­ble it takes up the least amount of my time, gen­er­ally just a few days each month.

The sec­ond area I work in I would loosely call ‘on-go­ing projects’. This in­cludes my two cook­books, an up­com­ing snack prod­uct, a food ser­vice part­ner (Brook Food Ser­vices) and this col­umn. My projects start as an idea and I then try to fig­ure out how to make it hap­pen. This area is lots of work and gen­er­ally, re­ally time-con­sum­ing but I Iove it! I en­joy the chal­lenge of bring­ing some­thing to­gether from a sim­ple idea to ac­tu­ally ex­ist­ing and peo­ple be­ing able to en­gage with it.

The fi­nal area is dig­i­tal. I con­sider dig­i­tal to be any­thing that is on­line like the recipes, fit­ness, blogs, videos etc that are up on my web­site (www.der­ or on my so­cial me­dia. I’m work­ing on an on­line plat­form to do more work in this area. I love the world of on­line and think there is an amaz­ing op­por­tu­nity to be in di­rect con­tact with peo­ple who are in­ter­ested in what I do. I get lots of feed­back on my col­umn/cook­ery books but only when I meet peo­ple in per­son whereas on­line I get feed­back straight away.

Now that you have a bit of back­ground I wanted to talk about my team. When I was a pro­fes­sional ath­lete one of the key rea­sons I won medals was work­ing with peo­ple that were far smarter than me and who could guide my ca­reer! I did my job of per­form­ing when it mat­tered and they did their job of pre­par­ing me. To a large ex­tent, it is the same now. I have loads of ideas but I work with great peo­ple to bring them to­gether.

There are a few peo­ple that work with me each week and then there are oth­ers that work with me on a more ad hoc ba­sis. On a weekly part-time ba­sis, Aish­ling and Diane work in the of­fice. Aish­ling is my food sci­ence go to. She has a de­gree in nu­tri­tional sciences from UCC and is re­ally knowl­edge­able. Aish­ling in­forms a huge amount of the col­umn and is an amaz­ing re­source. Diane works with me on dig­i­tal and is su­per busy with the on­line plat­form. She ends up get­ting dragged into ev­ery­thing and any­thing so her dig­i­tal role of­ten ends up in be­ing ev­ery­thing.

When it comes to food some of my favourite peo­ple are pro­fes­sional chefs. They work in one of the hard­est in­dus­tries and their skill with food is su­perb. For that rea­son, I recipe de­velop and test with a chef called Gra­ham Dono­van. Gra­ham has been a pro­fes­sional chef for 13 years and he brings an ex­tra layer to my recipes.

There are lots of other peo­ple who add to my work whether that is us­ing a di­eti­cian on my sec­ond book or get­ting the opin­ion of an ex­pe­ri­enced per­sonal trainer on my work­out plans. Work­ing with other peo­ple adds a lot of cred­i­bil­ity and makes what­ever I’m do­ing bet­ter. I’m re­ally thank­ful to have a su­per team around me and hope­fully, we can keep work­ing on great projects to­gether.


Miki Bar­lok Miki does the pho­tog­ra­phy for this col­umn and for lots of the so­cial me­dia work I do.

He is su­per tal­ented and his web­site has some amaz­ing ex­am­ples of his work. Be sure to check it out, it’s bar­ or he is also on Instagram.

Pic­ture: Miki Bar­lok

Der­val with chef Gra­ham Dono­van.

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