Paul’s thoughts on video interview

Post interview reflection

After having a chat with Aidan from the maherees veg, we went on a wander around the farm to see the cattle geese ducks pigs and goats, to chat about the rest of the farm thats little known. 

We spoke about many things includong the lack of shared information between people, regarding different things. I knew ducks can be sporadic egg layers so how do you have a supply of duck and chicken eggs year round, is anyone’s guess, Aidan provided an answer buying them at a particular tine of the year so they mature at the tine thw rest of the flock are stopping laying more so with the chickens than the ducks. 

We had a group following us around like a shadow getting pecked wasnt a worry, just odd behaviour as far as i was concerned.

Then on for the onion field and a chat about the crops and seeding and harvesting. There was a few onions flowering and the begining of the process to seed naturally. 

Then the conversation to an eye opening turn, should a crop fail for whatever reason the cost is borne entirely by the growers, so success of a crop is paramount to survival of the vegatable farmers of this country. While Aidans produce is the best in the country in my opinion so naturally tasty and forgive the expression how they should taste. We spoke about the cost of production per kilo and what its for sale for. 

Its selling at about the price he can grow it for thats not including the cost of his time and associated costs to grow the vegatables. So whos really losing out is the grower as you know they are being driven to tighter and tighter margins and struggling to make ends meet. 

Then seeing his diversification to juicing and the use of the tops and misshapen carrots to feed pigs to cut waste costs, to supplement income. 

We have always spoken about the importance of supporting local and buying local, and will continue to do so, so I implore everyone reading this to drop by a farmers market talk to the veg man, especially Aidan, and youll taste tge difference, its worth the extra few euro and ypull feel it in yourself as youll be getting fresher, more nutritious veg as it will have only been pulled from the ground instead of being treated and sent on a trip around the world before it gets to you. 

.check out the farmers markets in kerry every week in your local town 

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Inspiration by Paul

Inspiration 

The following piece is random even by my own admission. 

I’ve been able to read a bit more now that I’ve changed position and mental state. I’ve begun reading a book IGNI it’s a book detailing the fall of a restaurant and the recovery road and rise of another restaurant. I suppose the plot seems all to familiar to me, albeit from a perspective of a person who’s literally lost everything uprooted and his road to recovery over the 1st few chapters. 

I’m not going to spoil it so go read it yourself contact James in Polymaths he’s great for different books.

Then I walk away and stroll by a stream and see a hazel tree or a beech tree with nuts attached, I’ve to collect them this year, otherwise another year wasted on procrastination. I plan on drying these and using them in place of pine nuts in a pesto or part of a salad, museli, or dessert, that’s just before you ask what you’d do with them as you have a random tree near the house. 

I suppose I could forget drying flowers this year and maybe concentrate on preserving the essence of them for future months.

As I sit here I can’t help wonder about doing this as a career, not the “cheffy” part the preserving part, I mean that I love doing it, it’s not rocket science by any stretch of the imagination compotes chutneys cordials pesto relish dehydration powder etc. Yes, use the chef’s skills and head that I currently posess, and go this way, am I driven yes am I mad well, that can be argued am I stable enough to do it, not a chance, I still feel a sense of failure and disappointment as you can well imagine. 

This is where I stand right now on chapter 2 beginning the road to recovery and success, failure is not something I’m used to, I’ve always put my heart and soul into everything I’ve ever done so some measure of success was always attained by me in some shape or form. 

Like the chef in the book I too will rise again, I heard on the radio once 11 to 1 club words of wisdom” life’s is about falling 7 times and getting up 8″ it’s a line that’s kind of stuck out over the last month to me. 

As always @chefpaulc on all social media platforms 

Forage

Forage 2019

Since last i wrote about this topic, Ive done my usual foraging plus some wandering. I found some beautiful mushrooms and new places to pick flowers and berries, 

Mushrooms were always the things that eluded me on my ventures in the forests. Then delight when i find my mushrooms on the rare occasion i find them. Ive dried pretty much all that ive found this year with the exception of the pheasant back which i believe got chopped up and sauteed with some butter and served with some turbot. 

By the coast right now sea beet is currently seeding, as such has lost most of its nutritional value, so i dont pick it. So instead I pick samphires, or beach mustard or baby oyster leaf, or sea aster, some sea lettuce and grasses. So not exactly short on things to pick on our vast coastline and arguably our best asset. 

I love our coast for its beauty and its bounty, its splendour and raw power of destruction when waves come crashing over rocks, seeing the quantities of seaweed thrust onto the rocks and beach after a storm is breathtakingly awesome. 

I still receive funny looks of intrigue and inquisition about how to cook it or what to use it with, people are always amazed with the response hot pan, butter salt pepper serve. Simplicity is key to food no point over complicating for the sake of it. Cook it simply, let the natural flavours sing. 

As always folks @chefpaulc on all social media platforms 

Al change for Paul

Career path.

Its been an emotional couple of months for me both personal and professional. 

Personally through mental stress and strain of a business, and added to that marriage and monetary issue’s, all compounding into one perfect storm for explosion. 

Professionally I stepped down from my role as a head chef, being honest i wasnt ready, I thought I was, backed myself all the way with my ability to cook, I now know what I lack and need to work on. I fell into a kind of a sweeper chef, in Croì and as time went on, decisions needed to be made. 

I needed to move away from a restaurant I helped build and take a position guaranteeing a wage to help my personal life, with more time for my neglected wife (Sorry Jen). 

In short I am a Junior Sous in Manor West Hotel, I want to thank the crew there for the welcome I received about 2 weeks ago. Its a family there that i just clicked, a monstrous food output on a daily basis, roll up the sleeve, hot pans, fryers, grills and food away. 

Many of the staff knew me personally from previous jobs. Others clicked with the Croì jacket, I wore on day 2/3, made no difference to me, I get to introduce new ideas to the kitchen to help it expand and help to raise the bar on a standard of food, some wild food, sone preservation, some vegatarian, all of which are met with nervous anticipation, or dismissal, a slight giggle, you know what, I dont mind its new Im expecting some resistance. New ideas, to a place thats used to a certain way, Im all for slotting in doing the job going home, thats ok but its not me, i have some freedom with specials so a little flair here to see where it goes. 

Im proud of what Ive achieved, at the end of the day Im 30, married, opened 2 restaurants, and saw one not work, Ive made my mistakes, still have a few more to make. Just to learn from them now.

I feel like a failure, as I leave Croí and Grà behind me, I feel disheartened with the loss, but optimistic that I can learn more, to push my career further into the future. 

As always @chefpaulc on all social media platforms