‘I’m best tending the barbecue’
What did your mother make you?
Everything! Joan is famous for her Christmas dinner.
What is the meal you will always remember?
A room-service dinner with my wife, Jane, and our two small boys in the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo.
What was your defining food experience?
Visiting Dan Mullane in The Mustard Seed in Ballingarry, Co Limerick. He led us casually around the garden, picking up a few bits here and there, which became the freshest, most flavoursome salad.
What’s the first dish you ever cooked?
One of my early jobs was in Abrakebabra, so my prowess in serving up a doner kebab is legendary.
What is your comfort food?
A good spaghetti carbonara is hard to pass.
What is your hangover cure?
Nurofen, a 10k jog, preferably in the lashing rain, a long, very hot shower and a bucket of tea.
What do you drink?
Less and less. Alcohol doesn’t like me very much. I do like Kevin Dundon’s Arthurstown beers.
If you could only eat three things for the rest of your life what would they be?
Pizza; my wife’s Kilbeggan porridge; and dried apricots.
You can go anywhere and have anything to eat with any one person. Where, what and who?
The Union Oyster House, Boston, eating lobster with Warren Buffett.
What’s your favourite restaurant in Ireland?
Hang Dai on Camden Street is a breath of fresh air. Rustic Stone with the family. L’Ecrivain for a posh meal. Ballymaloe House for timeless tradition.
L’Oasis bistro in La Napoule, and La Colombe d’Or in St-Paul-de-Vence, both on the Cote d’Azur. Barrafina in London. Cobblers Cove in Barbados.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Really good, fat chips, fluffy inside, with Bearnaise sauce, and an ice-cold Diet Coke, muddled with lime.
What’s your signature dish?
I’m best tending the barbecue, with fresh herbs on top of the coals to bring out the summer flavours.
What’s your perfect family meal?
Late Sunday lunch in Wineport Lodge with Jane and our two boys. Roast beef from CR Tormey’s butcher in Mullingar, roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, roast root vegetables and good horseradish sauce. Ray Byrne is a hospitality consultant and owner of independent hotels including Wineport Lodge, Athlone, Co Westmeath; Eccles Hotel, Glengarriff, Co Cork, and Kilkenny Inn, Kilkenny. He also operates boutique townhouse Stauntons On The Green, St Stephen’s Green, D2 Photo by Andrew Bradley