‘I genuinely love potatoes!’
What is the meal you will always remember?
After achieving the Michelin star last September, myself and the guys in the kitchen went to celebrate at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, which is on the Royal Hospital Road in London. The experience was first class. And we even ran into Ross Lewis [of Chapter One] in the airport on the way home! Great day.
What was your defining food experience?
I’m not sure if I’ve had just one. At different stages of my career I’ve had moments that I’ve thought, ‘I really love this, I’m going to keep cooking’. I’m always looking forward, excited to see what happens next.
What’s the first dish you ever cooked?
Growing up watching taught me how to make a bechamel sauce and proper custard, so these were the first things I tried to cook.
What is your comfort food?
Potatoes! It’s so stereotypical, and I have been teased all over the world about them, but I genuinely love them. My daddy grew them. A meal of boiled new-season potatoes like Dublin Queens, with lots of real butter and salt, and maybe even a fried egg, is the best.
What is your hangover cure?
Get up quickly so you don’t think about it too much! A cup of hot tea, a full Irish breakfast and a good laugh about the previous night’s antics does the trick.
What do you drink?
I’m fond of a Guinness, red wine, or a gin.
If you could only eat three things for the rest of your life, what would they be?
This would be hell; I’d have to have potatoes of course, and chocolate, and maybe eggs, as they are pretty versatile. How boring, though.
How important is food to you?
It’s my livelihood, so it’s pretty important! I also think it’s important that people know where their food comes from, how to cook it and how to grow it.
What’s your favourite restaurant in Ireland?
I couldn’t possibly name just one, we have so many now. In Dublin, I love Chapter One, Forest & Marcy, and the GreenHouse; and Loam in Galway. Macau in Belfast is a favourite, too. Obviously, Deanes Eipic is where I’m allowed to cook, so I like it there. And abroad? The Ledbury in London.
What is your guilty pleasure?
It would have to be really cheesy toasted sandwiches.
If you decide to eat healthily, what’s your regime?
I will cut out bread and do a tea-tox to flush out the badness, and drink plenty of water. I’ll cook Asian-style broths, which are light but still have lots of flavour. Danielle Barry, Ireland’s only Michelin-starred female chef, will be at the Festival of Women, which takes place at the RDS on September 16, 17 and 18. For tickets and information, see festivalofwomen.ie In conversation with Sophie White Photo by Elaine Hill