‘Food is all-consuming, in a good way’
What did your mother make you?
My mother was a great baker — there were always freshly baked cakes, scones and breads at home.
What is the meal you will always remember?
The two-star Michelin restaurant Au Moulin de la Gorce near Limoges, France. It was the end of a wonderful culinary tour around the Dordogne with my wife. The restaurant was in an idyllic setting by a lake, and it was my first time trying truffled eggs.
What was your defining food experience?
Food has been my passion as I long as I can remember. From cooking with my mum, to working as Richard Corrigan’s chef director at the Michelin-starred Lindsay House, to setting up Wine & Brine. It’s impossible to pick one defining moment.
What’s the first dish you ever cooked?
Eggs Benedict — I’m glad to say that it has improved considerably since then.
What is your comfort food?
My wife, Davina’s, braised ox cheek — there is absolutely nothing nicer on a cold day.
What is your hangover cure?
Always a Bloody Mary; it works every time. Preferably made with RubyBlue Vodka, the first potato-distilled vodka in Ireland, from Co Antrim.
What do you drink?
Bertha’s Revenge Gin from Ballyvolane House in Co Cork, and Fever-Tree Tonic.
If you could only eat three things for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Freshly caught fish, good local beef (both are in abundance in this country), and Alphonso mangoes.
How important is food to you?
When you work with food, it is all-consuming, in a good way. I run the restaurant with my wife Davina, so we have a shared passion.
What’s your favourite restaurant in Ireland?
JP McMahon’s Michelin-starred Aniar in Galway. And abroad? The family-run Arzak in San Sebastian, Spain. It is worth planning a holiday around a visit to this restaurant.
What’s your sweet treat?
My granny’s lemon curd and wild blackberries. Lemon curd is on our dessert menu, and is a firm favourite with our customers at Wine & Brine.
What do you refuse to eat?
Badly prepared food.
Worst meal ever?
Probably something from my student days, best forgotten.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Chinese food after service on a Sunday night.
Are you careful about what you eat?
Yes, in the sense that I try and eat the best-quality ingredients possible, but I definitely indulge in the odd treat, too. I am a firm believer that everything in moderation is OK.
When you decide to eat healthily, what’s your regime?
Cut out bread, and no food after 8pm.
What’s your perfect meal?
That is easy. Good food and good wine in the company of your family — enough said.