Diarmuid talks a new season new goals

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Its been a thoroughly successful enjoyable rewarding season not alone for me but the moorings dungarvan and the south east as a whole #greenwayphenomon Latest tourism figures indicate a growth of 53% in visitors The greenway has outstripped all forecasts ( no previous figuers #firstyear) however month on month from its inception the numbers on the greenway have now exceeded .5million users. Dungarvan is No1 worldwide on Air b&b with a massive growth of 5451% (that figure is not a misprint) The Moorings is nominated in Two Catgories this coming Tuesday in the Mansion House Best Irish Pub and Best in Service in Irish Pub Global Gala Awards. We are in 3 Catagories in Chamber of Commerce South East my favourite Best in Social Media. I hear you ask why are you saying this big deal. Ive worked very closely with for me a whole new team of people. Chefs; very young Floor operators Barmen Met reps built relationships with our guests demanded and sought repeat business and put structure and procedures into place. Ive implemented SOP’s We remain Second Only to Paul Flynn @ the tannery while along being on the floor servicing the mass’s In peak season we were catering for 600 ppl a day. Low season 400 plus the parties weddings and alot more in the nature of this business ie a food imporium by day becomes a drinking haven at night. Ive realy got stuck in with the chefs and developed menus introduced flavours to desserts added cocktail and gin menus but more Importantly earned my stripes with the boss’s The Quinn family who have handed over the reigns not alone to the moorings but their property in Waterford. The job of a front house operator is all inclusive Its a role that requires knowledge yes but I always find flexibility like a barley stem blowing in the breeze the capacity to listen and observe are the true skills of an operator. The dis-arming charm plus empathy also help 😉 We here are all gangsters but different types and individual gangsters. Keep doing what we are doing We are a unique Industry.. #shootemupboys 🕵

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Paul on CROI

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Restaurant opening.

 

We are now open 2 weeks, I have a few minutes to myself away from everyone I am contemplating my position here, if I wasn’t I suppose I wouldn’t be doing this right. I am of the belief that if you are not questioning your actions your not making progress. To myself it’s a realisation of a dream which in itself is bittersweet. On the one hand I’m pushing forward with my life, that part i can deal with, the part that gets me as I write this is the sadness from the loss of my mother last year, as I use her tunnel to grow the strawberries, rhubarb and salad leaves that go out on the starters and desserts. Each time I pick from the tunnel, I can’t help the feeling that should by mom still be here I might not be growing as much as I am.

 

It’s been a rollercoaster ride so far seeing what we walked into and with the help of friends and family alike, cleaning tidying, organising. I must say a huge thank you to all, the people who have came in and dines with us over the last two weeks. I am glad that I have made this decision as I further my career and make progress down a road less traveled, with 2 of my friends Noel and Kevin, I couldn’t ask for 2 better business partners so thanks lads.

Each of us have a different viewpoints on this restaurant and different reasons as to why we walk this path.

 

The journey is just beginning, it’s emotionally and physically draining, but it’s worth it at the end of the day we are doing it for ourselves.

 

Follow the restaurant on Facebook Twitter and Instagram @croitralee

 

Or myself for behind food pics @chefpaulc on Instagram and Twitter with the occasional food pic thrown in for good measure.

 

Hope to see ye in the restaurant soon.

Starting out as a chef

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8 TIPS FOR CHEFS STARTING OUT

1: Learn how to sharpen your knife. A sharp knife does less damage than a blunt one

2: Learn how to finely dice an onion. It’s the most commonly used ingredient in the kitchen and a great way to practise your knife skills

3: Bring a spare pair of socks to work. When you’re working for a couple of hours in hot shoes it can cause health problems.

4: Don’t be afraid to ask question, if you’re not sure of something ask. Chefs would rather see your interest and show you something properly than you mess it up. Even if you do mess it up ask where you went wrong and don’t mess up the second time.

5: Learn how to make soup. It’s more than likely your first job will be on starters. If it is nearly every restaurant has a soup on those menu. If you can learn to do that you’re taking on a full dish by yourself. Also soups have to be seasoned correctly so it is an ideal opportunity to start your seasoning skills and allows you to experiment with flavours.

6: Show interest. If you’re in a busy kitchen and you have nothing to do. Wander over to the sauce section and see how the chef make their peppercorn sauce. No one chef does everything the same way but when you become qualified you can choose what way you like best. You need a base knowledge to start with though.

7. Don’t take it personally. My first night working in kitchen I had never used bean sprouts before. A chef on my section had put gone off bean sprouts on a salad and I didn’t know the difference. I got blamed for serving it and looked like a fool. However I didn’t storm off in a mood. I finished my shift and we were still friends afterwards. People shout get angry it happens. Don’t take it to heart.

8. Start high end and decide where to go from there. If you start in a good restaurant you learn the basics. Saying that not everyone wants to work in fine dining. That’s fine. But it’s hard to move from a low casual dining restaurant to a fine dining restaurant.

Diarmuid on the food service industry

What a wonderfull weekend on the #foodtrail to the Kingdom. I probably don’t need to go into any furthuer detail on my experience in Listowel & Tralee as I have well documented my reviews on Social Media. So I’m going to just ‘tip’ on being an owner/operator having spoken to both proprietors on my journey and from my own experience of being a bar and hotel owner in my own time. Firstly I want to acknowledge the guys in Listowel & Tralee and wish them continued success in the future. When I began my career in the late 80’s going to the pub/restaurant was in the Top 5 of places of interest to go socialise and meet with friends family etc. 30 yrs later with the advent of so many many forms of social activity people are more health concious and with the demise of the Celtic Tiger the f&b trade has suffered a major downturn and our customers are now finely tuned in to ‘value for your buck’ Bars & Restaurants are under constant screunity from not alone the well travel and versed general public but from also within by the governing food and drink bodies. I have heard on countless occasions people saying ‘oh I’d love to have a pub/restautant’ they see an operation on a busy weekend night and immediately marry the till take to a it’s a good money maker. It’s obviously not the case. Our guests do not see what goes on behind the scenes and what an enermous effort it takes just to open the door let alone keep it open and trading successfully. My point without over stating the obvious is the respect I have for the guys I met this weekend. Hard working conceious people as well as being food lovers they are employers they are fantastic chefs and front house operators. I personaly am fully supportive of anyone in business but in particular in our Industry. It’s 7 days 7 nights every week week in week out. It’s then sometimes that naturaly I become disappointed when I read the reviews of staff and premises on Tripadvisor. Posted up by ‘mini-private eye foodies’ without a seconds thought for someone’s career and someone’s hard work. I was brought up to the mantra if you have nothing nice to say don’t say anything and if you realy feel something is to be said at least be constructive. My point again coming from being an employer to a damm good employee is We should all help support and encourage those who make the brave step forward to become an owner/operator. We should all take time to be transparent with out customers and when an opportunity arises to explain how deathtraemtal someone’s unkind review can be on any form of Social Media. The good times are gradually coming back People have a few extra bob in their pocket and once again with thanks to will oiled professionals in hospitality who did not bail out people are coming back into our bars & Restaurants and the ‘steaks’ are high and we need to continue to produce the goods and the experience our guests now demand. And we will I know all of us here on TCG will endevour to produce the best to the best of our ability. So I encourage everyone to support the Owner/operator. I for One raise my glass to you guys this evening. After all… we are the willing led by the unknown doing the impossible for sometimes the ungrateful but we keep doing it! Why I ask. Because that’s what we do. #atyourservice 👤

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Seasonal changes

 
As more light shines in the daytime more flowers come to life. Some of our spring flowers are coming to the end of their season.

There are summer flowers blooming everywhere from the meadows to the hedges and the rivers and streams

The red clover and fuschia are beginning to bloom across the countryside along with the rather unlikely suspect the hawthorn is flowering, however be careful as when you are plucking these flowers they have a tendency to fall like cherry blossoms littering the undergrowth with its tiny white petal, wild garlic and leek flowers are still going strong but are coming to the end of their seasons.

While most flowers this time of year are perfectly edible some are harmful if ingested in large quantities, or if eaten raw, though may be eaten if cooked.

As always be sure of what you are picking before you eat it. Also keep an eye out for wild berries starting to flower at the moment wild strawberries are flowering at the moment if you know where they are.

We are using a variety of wild herbs and flowers in our restaurant in the square Tralee Croí. Come in and experience homegrown and wild food like no other.

Follow on Instagram and Twitter @chefpaulc and the restaurant Instagram and Twitter @croitralee and on Facebook​ @croirestaurant 

CROI new beginings

So having worked hard and as I said before giving every last drop to work, I’ve come to the point where we felt like opening my own. Teamed with chef Noel and Paul from the Tralee culinary gangsters, we’ve open a restaurant. The excitement is huge and so is the work load. Noel and Paul both in the kitchen and me front of house. Now I get to give the same dedication to this my own as I have for others so many times before. We have learned so much over the years and now we sit at are own table. We know all the right producers with a menu that consists with everything Irish and 97% of it from Kerry. Followed by carefully selected wines to marry the stunning food that’s leaving the kitchen. Chef Noel has a chump of lamb from Banna strand produced by Peter Curran of the well bred butcher and for this we have a rioja, supplied by Stephen Wallace of Ardfert. A full bodied red that explodes in your mouth with flavour which excentuates the flavour of the lamb. The lamb is tender and packed with flavor. Some light dressing and trimming because on this stage the lamb doesn’t need much company. Together they are perfection.

Follow kevin on twitter @parsnip78

An Italian breakfast

Traditional Italian Easter Breakfast

 

In Italy, a famous saying goes: “Christmas with your family, Easter with whoever you wish.”

                          

This proverb seems to invite a real exodus from their family environment, but perhaps in Rome and surroundings, is not quite so, because to the Romans, Easter is an important holiday that you get to celebrate since the early morning, with a rich Easter breakfast.

The traditional Roman Easter breakfast is, generally, preparing the table with dishes symbolic of the Christian religion, because this moment (Easter) celebrates the end of fasting and the return to life.

 

The table is completely set because this “breakfast” is very important in the regional tradition, almost more than the classic Easter lunch.

 

 

On the table will be present both sweet dishes and savory dishes.

We will find the typical Pizza battuta, served with chocolate Easter eggs, Pasqualina cake, to match with the Corallina (a type of salami), but definitely not miss the Colomba, the famous Easter cake.

 

 

In addition, the Roman tradition wants that on the table there are some cooked dishes including, for example, the Coratella with artichokes, Frittata with artichokes and boiled eggs to enjoy with cheese pizza.

 

 

Surely you can’t say it’s a light breakfast but the traditions are traditions and as such, we must try to pass them on from generation to generation because it’s nice to continue what our ancestors began. Happy Easter everyone!

P.s.: Don’t forget this breakfast has to be served with a generous glass of wine… maybe two!!

 

Tralee 14/04/2017

Massimiliano Bagaglini

 

EGGS by paul

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Eggs
Eggs are i believe the most underrated and unappreciated items in every cupboard or fridge or wherever you store the carton of eggs. They can be used for breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper, eggs fit seamlessly into any of these as part of the dish or as a dish in their own right. Aside from this they are also a staple in the baking of bread and pastry.
I would like to acknowledge all those people with chickens or ducks roaming around the back yard or farm, for not eating hg walking roast of the farmyard, to collect each day the eggs to be used i the kitchen.
I love a poached egg with thick cut rashers for breakfast with hollandaise sauce ( egg yolk, butter, lemon juice and salt). For lunch a 3 egg omelette with onion, bell pepper, chorizo a quick tasty lunch that fills any void before dinner. Now here’s where i use eggs a component to a larger meal with salad leaves and a poached egg to dress a salad instead of an oil or mayonnaise based dressing.
For deserts of course eggs are an essential part of many deserts from custards, to meringue to the pastry for a good apple tart.
There is debate about how to store eggs in the fridge or in the press. I maintain its best to keep them out of the fridge but away from direct sunlight. Most recipes work best when the egg is at room temperature unless specified in the recipe.
Follow on Twitter and Instagram @chefpaulc. Follow our Facebook page Traleeculinarygangsters.com

Paul looking forward 2017

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Forage and grow 2017
Last year was strange for me. The only thing I managed to grow was strawberries, but foraged loads more, as time goes on I learn more and more about what is and is not edible. In my experience I have tried everything that I spotted once and out of all these weeds I have had one bad experience. I picked a little bit as per usual tried a bit shortly after the 1st chew it started to sting so that got spat out it sting for about an hour afterwards other than that no bad experience. I don’t count the horrible tasting ones.
This year is different I am more motivated to grow more of my own, with the loss of my mom last year I suppose it’s trying to keep her spirit alive in the homestead, and the polytunnel becomes this oasis of life. A month ago I started by weeding out the tunnel of the heavy weeds. Followed by a drowning of water to revive any plants that were hiding dormant underground some of these are now coming to life with a little heavier weeding I’m now ready to sow some lettuce leaves “cut and come” varieties I’ve no interest in the big heads I won’t have time for them I have also down some cress some garlic chives and some normal garlic in the hopes of having my own. I’ve planted some squash seeds in the ground and some in small pots which can be transplanted at a later date. I picked up some cherry tomatoes with I know I can grow in buckets put a hole in the bottom with a tray of water add warmth and sunlight and they will be happy out, just to spice it up a bit I added basil to the plants as I am led to believe they thrive alongside these tempestuous fruit.
My progress on a berry patch is also underway after the birds thieving everything last year, I am an animal lover and have no issue with small birds of any description I would prefer to have been able to put the berries to use in my workplace or even the homestead, most of the berries needed a few more days to ripen to perfection, as luck would have it, it was 10 days before I got a chance to return home to find no more than a jam jar full of berries. At least the birds will survive I thought next year I will be better prepared. This year I have transferred done of these through small rooting shoots to the centre of the poly tunnel where I can keep an eye on them, less chance of the birds making off with my berries.
As this new season and my second year of foraging begins I look forward to trying different things and exploiting more of nature’s bounty in the first of leaves seeds fruits nuts and vegetables from the shore to the forest and everything in between. I look forward to the people I have yet to meet on my travels around this beautiful county of ours and what she has to offer us over the course of this year from the wild garlic which is with us right now to Dandelion leaves, chickweed, wild cress, wild leeks, sorrel, seabeet, samphire just to name a few that we have plentiful supply of for the year if treated and preserved correctly will ensure a year round supply of nutritious greens, later in the year nuts and mushrooms appear, through careful identification mushrooms can be found year round I am learning these as I go pick, identify have found a handful of mushrooms so far that I can safely eat I hasten to add here I’m NOT an expert at this I need more practice, training before going on a proper mushroom hunting. Through this year I’m going to focus more on growing than my forage and other parts more on the forage than the growing. While I find the balance.
More on my success and failure through this year follow this blog.
Follow me on Twitter @chefpaulc Instagram @chefpaulc
Also we are hosting a forage and talk in ballyseedy woods @10am on the 25th march come join our event on Facebook like the page Traleeculinarygangsters.com