menu writing is a strange thing to be honest , you have to balance what way and what dishes the customer wants and want you would like to cook which i can assure yo are very different things , to give an example steak the usual trio sirloin fillet and ribeye wouldn’t make the cut , for me the filet is tender yes but lacks any flavour sirloin has more flavour but is well blaa just yea blaa the ribeye is the best of the three and sells the least , where as the feather blade or bavette steak has oodles of flavour yes not tender but for me it is always about flavour, what else matters really just flavour in all senses really isn’t it a flavour packed meal , relationship, life , you don’t want any to be blaa , a night out a great conversation life is all about flavour isn’t,
oh yes menus it is the same on starts , a lot of the best sellers are there for the customer not the chef , and you might think well yes that’s why i go there they have so and so on the menu, but shouldn’t you be going to a restaurant to try something different something you wouldn’t normally have , something by the chef his dish his way , what are you afraid of …….. worst thing ever is someone saying they wouldn’t like that and then saying they have never had it but wouldn’t like it , sweet baby Jesus , if you always took that you would never eat or drink anything ever what a waste of a life , one of life’s greatest joys is eating.
it is one of the purest things really , so go to restaurant that are chef lead , how do youo know if they are…. look at the menu it will tell you everything you need to know , same old stuff on it as everywhere else or things on it you dont know combinations you never heard of then thats chef lead.
As we come out from our 2nd lockdown, my lockdown has taken me back to school, yes I did a few courses during the 1st lockdown but they were ones I needed to update and refresh. To further to my jogging/running I’ve gone back to the basics of cooking at home, making bread, stock and sauce, I’ve always bought whole chickens, just decided to make use of the carcass instead of being lazy about it. I bought a duck to break and render for stock and taken the fat for roast potatoes for myself and my wife. Its a “healthier” fat than vegatble oil. I plan on making spring rolls from the legs wings and breast. Making them is very easy, all you need is the pastry, filo will do the technical one is filo de brick, the method is very simple, make your filling of vegatables, sweat them together till they are tender allow to cool and mix in cooled duck meat, season to your liking with salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika, whatever you like. The pastry if you are using filo you will need to cut it in 2 as it is too long, if you get the spring roll pastry just place a damp towel or cloth over it so it won’t loose moisture, Place 1 sheet of pastry on top of the other rotating the top piece to make a star shape on the table. Place your duck and vegetables in the middle of the star and fold over the 2 sides (left and right) Then roll the bottom point over the top of where the left and right are and tuck it in on the far side. Once tucked in roll over to the end to make it into your spring roll. Bake at 180 for approx. 15 mins or deep fry until golden brown. Serve and enjoy. As always stay safe and follow my journey @chefpaulc on all social media
As we are now in the middle of level 5 restrictions I find myself once again at a loss, though I’ve maintained a day or 2 a week work I feel more at a loss now than I did at the height of the last 1. Shortly after moving house while walking my 2 dogs, I walked a path alongside a river and decided instead of turning back on myself I’d continue on and walk home the rest of the way roughly the same distance as the walk, and that I’d jog a part of the leg home. Running was a vent for me as a teenager to clear my head focus and keep fit. Alas I was sadly mistaken as to how far I could run, I struggled with around 200 meters, shocking wake up call I assure you. In my teens I thought nothing of 5k or 10k runs. I averaged approx 20, 000 steps on a day that I was working I figured a mile of a run may not have been out of my range, my legs, lungs and heart however had other ideas, “good idea kid, but no not doing that”. A week later now I’ve just completed a mile and a half jogging, my legs now feeling it. I suppose the moral of my story, excercise in increments, not on a whim. I now plan to continue until I can successfully run 10k who knows maybe a marathon. All help and advice is appreciated. As always stay safe, support local. follow my journey @chefpaulc on all social media.
600g/1lb 5oz Bramley apples, peeled, quartered and cut into chunks
1 litre/1¾ pints vegetable stock
150ml/5fl oz milk
flaked sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Melt the butter and oil in a large saucepan. Gently fry the onions and parsnips for 15 minutes, or until the onions are softened. Add the garlic and apples and cook for a further two minutes, stirring regularly.
Pour over the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the parsnips are very soft. Remove from the heat and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Blend the mixture in a food processor until smooth.
Stir in the milk, adding a little extra if required. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Place of Work: Croí Restaurant and cocktail heist tapas bar
When I Started: February 2020, I went to Croí looking for work experience for school and I started that weekend. My first night working was Valentine’s Day, so I got a good idea of what a busy kitchen was like. My week of work experience went well and I learned a lot, I was really enjoying it but it was coming to an end until, on the last night of work experience Chef Noel came into the kitchen just before service and asked if I would like to come in on the coming Friday and start working properly. The offer caught me off guard but I instantly said yes, I saw it as a chance to learn a lot more about this trade and I’m always learning something new in the best place to learn it, a kitchen. I Worked all summer, after the Covid-19 lockdown was lifted of course and I plan to keep working here for a while and keep contributing to Tralee Culinary Gangsters as well.
A couple of pictures from my dish I created tonight in the Rose Hotel, Tomato TarTar with smoked Salmon.
Beetroot peure, mint powder , rose petals and edible flowers and hearbs from my garden.
Created this dish from experience I picked up threw the years of chefing by learning my art on a plate. Flavour, foraging and gardening.
Since lockdown began at the start of wild garlic season picking was slim, beaches off limits even slimmer pickings I’ve always had hedgerows to pick from fraughans are beginning the fruiting process at the moment so they are small green berries now when ripe they will look like small blueberries and wild strawberries are ripe for the picking at the moment get them while they are ripe as birds love them and have infinitely more time to grab them than you.
Also fushia nss elderflower coming in thick and fast with the beautiful weather best to get them early in the morning to keep the best of the goodness before the bees take all the goodness.
Some people say it smells like cat pee in the evening, I’ve never picked it in the evening so no comment here.
I’ve always adored the smell of elderflower and this year I have acquired some water keifer from a friend to make some elderflower drinks fotr the year with a little fizz. Big Mason jar at the ready. Stay tuned for results. This could work amazingly or fail miserably. Fingers crossed.
A recent wander in ballyseedy woods revealed a number of pheasant back mushrooms or Dryads saddle mushrooms tasty mocerls I dried the larger ones that I found and had some for dinner myself.
How to cook them. You cook them the same as any regular mushroom, it just has a stronger “mushroom” flavour.
How I dried the larger mushrooms I hear you ask. After cleaning using a damp cloth and a light rinse of water to flush out any bugs I sliced as thin as I could and placed them on some parchment paper and into a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 10 minutes and then turned it off. When I turned it off I opened the oven to release the steam that will build up.
Check in the morning they should snap quite easily if they bend they are not done. Repeat the procedure once more if necessary.
Our shop has now gone live tralee culinary gangsters t shirts, beanies and vegtopia books availablr for sale.
Was 16 when I was offered my first job, wasn’t chefing it was actually meant to be a kitchen porter, but my head chef and mentor for the past almost 8 years looked at me and said get a uniform you start Monday, I didn’t want to chef at the start, just wanted money cause I was Young, never liked the job as a chef until I was shown how to cook and found out you can never stop learning, fell in love with it and my trade and wanted to learn all the time, still to this day I google and research recipes and cooking skills, love what I do and I am always excited to learn more and will never get enough knowledge because it’s endless
Since all this started, I like many of my colleagues across the industry and in general the public have been afforded an opportunity to evaluate life, and the work life balance. Many people will have experienced this differently to what I did.
I’m fortunate in a sense that I live in the countryside, far from town and near to forestry walkways.
My wife has adapted to her new learning from the college i.e online classes and exams quite well with a nice set up in the kitchen.
All exams passed with flying colours.
For me I need to get out to and into a kitchen as they seem to be the only place my life makes sense I don’t know why it just does for me. I get to kill 2 birds with one stone I get to give back to the community and get out of the house and build a network for myself for the future. I’ve known my kitchen comerades Paul and Karl for a while but never really got to know them.
By providing meals on wheels for SVP I have learned that we are still a community at heart something that many believed myself included non existent previous to lockdown. The community approach to this has been fantastic across the country and the rural community ramped up production on their existing efforts in the rural centres for Irish life. Yes, I’m referring to villages and small towns with senior groups or aid groups for the community prime example my own village Knocknagoshel already providing meals laundry etc from the community centre added extra delivery and shopping from the village and they deserve a massive thank you.
Now as it eases and “normality” resumes now I hope that this community sprirt and local support continues. I now myself have had time to think and contemplate what aspects of what I want the new normal to be. I now have rearranged my priorities and I needed a kick up the backside to see what everyone has always said to me and others no doubt in my shoes since the dawn of time, choosing family over my career is now to the forefront of what I want and desire. Honestly I always believed it myself and was going my own way about it by putting in the work for my life to enable an ease of life later. Seems logical to me, not any more thankfully.
My name is Dale Houlihan.
I’m 20 years of age and I’m a chef, I started chefing when I was 17. In secondary school they hadn’t home economics classes or anything so when I finished school I was expected to know what I wanted to do from what I was thought in school. My mom thought me how to cook at a very young age I was 4 making my first cake , 5 making my first pizza from scratch. Someone gave me advise to turn something you love into a career and that’s what I did , I started a Professiona cookery course the age of 17 in Kerry Collage Of Further Education.
I hadn’t a clue how to dice an onion or baton a carrot but I learned , I handed in a CV to Croi as a Commis Chef under the head chef Noel Keane and suis chef Paul Cotter , I started off as a kitchen porter for about a week then I got moved onto preparing Amuse Bush’s. Paul then trained me on plating desserts and helping with starters.while on Amuse Bush’s Paul used to tell me “I’ll give you the list of ingredients and you execute it” I was still learning what pickled radish and wild garlic was but Paul and Noel wanted to see what I’d create with the Amuse Bush and make me learn my own artistic side of dishes I never New I had.
Sometime after that I got comfortable with the starters and I’d fill in for Paul in he’s days off.
I was getting faster and cleaner and more creative every time I came into work and it really helped out with collage because the amount of knowledge a guy could learn from working with a team like that is the best knowledge anyone could get trying to learn and improve in collage. Paul and Noel offered myself and Dave opportunities to have dishes put on the menu if we had any good enough but they had to be seasonal , so I came up with 2 dishes for Vegtopia and so did Dave. Their was a competition called Yes Chef and my tempura broccoli dish from vegtopia was put up on Instagram and a chef from the competition commented on it saying he’d look forward to seeing it . So I did the competition, I did the Tempura Broccoli dish for my Amuse Bush seen as he was fond of it anyway , I did a Scallops on the beach for my starter (grilled scallops on a slate inside a crab shell,beef butter in a jug with pine needles smoking and stoned looking like a camp fire. I have to say a thanks to my Amuse Bush’s because without all of them I wouldn’t have been able to add food, Nature , Art and season into a dish that got me shortlisted for young chef of the year , A big thanks to Paul, Noel and Kevin too because without the encouragement and allowing me to learn in ways that help me develop as a chef I wouldn’t have been able to do any competition after being a chef for 7 months. My main course dish was pan fried monk fish with foraged sanfire, sea lettuce, garlic butter and clams , I chose the monkfish because Noel told me it’s really expensive so I knew if I used it it was expensive for a reason and that would make me not mess it up.
After about a year or less Croi opened a new building and Noel took me along , I was promoted to Demi Chef de Parti. I nearly passed out when Noel offered me the position. I stopped working in Croi after 6-7 months working in the new building and started working in Kate Brownes bar and Restaurant.
It was very different to Croi. I was used to working with 3-4 chef now I’m working with 22-23, different style of food and different people to see everyday but I had the knowledge from Noel and Paul and I had the speed Paul and Noel drilled into me so I knew I was fine. It was very busy there you could do 700 covers on a busy Sunday witch was most Sunday’s, but in Kate browns nobody really wanted to change the menu it was the same menu for years but it worked because it was busy so I still wanted to learn and that’s when I made the decision to hand in a CV to the Rose Hotel. I knew a fiew of the staff there , very kind, hard working, friendly people who wanted to teach a man who wanted to learn. My second day working there the Suis Chef Karl asked me to come up with a dish for the specials for the day after. So I did and he was happy with it. The next morning I got a phone call off the Head chef Odhran telling me how happy he was with the dish and I’ve got to say it felt good 😂 now I’m out of work due to shutdown of businesses over Covid19 but the minute I’m able to get back into work I’ll be out the door like a shot with the uniform, bandana and knives. I’ve heard people in collage and work complaining about having no life over chefing and it’s a hassle. But for me I turned my hobby into my career and it’s the best thing I ever done…