As the photos below show , spending time in the garden, setting it up for the seasons ahead, adding new beds, we’ll I removed old smaller beds and added large beds as I totally relay out the garden it was ad hock developed over the last few years, but now I’m pulling it all out and laying it out in a better more organised way, as well as laying stone footpaths throughout it ,

Paul talks lockdown

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.

Lockdown life

Lockdown ramblings 

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.

a week in the life of a chef


A week in the life of a chef

So this is my week Friday to Friday , with been a chef every week is different , but the weekends are much the same so I have written down this week to give you an idea of a chefs life , well my chefs life ,

Friday up at 8.30 and shortly off to work in by 9.45 Paul is in before me, first things first of course and a pot of tea, before starting the day’s work, and sorting out todays specials to be printed.

A look at the day sees a busy lunch service followed by a group in tonight along with normal evening, and an expo locally starting at 5 and a cooking demo at 8 which will take me out of the kitchen tonight but James will join Paul tonight, veronica will be on pastry and help Paul through lunch if and when needed, leaving me to take care of tonight’s menus mise en place (your days prep) orders for tomorrow and the set up for the expo.

By 10.15 the bread and roasts are in the oven and first of the bags of potatoes are on so its pots pots and more pots for sauces caramelised onions braised red cabbage rice and pasta are on the go ,chopping boards set up for salad mixes and slicing and dicing onions mushrooms etc

Deliveries’ start to arrive by 10.30 they need to be checked and put away as soon as they arrive,

By 11 o clock the fish is in and needs to be prepped today it is salmon ,hake ,scallops ,mussels and smoked salmon , finishing off the pot work by 12 for lunch and on to prep for tonight’s expo and demo ,

By 2 o clock most of it is done and I have to head off to the venue and set up the stand and the cooking demo unit with thanks to tasty Kerry for the use of it , once both are set up I’m back at the restaurant by 3.30, to finish off tonight’s menu , and check on everything , by 4.30 I’m back off to the expo , and we are doing two tasters at the stand athea black pudding with sweetened red cabbage and mussels steamed in Cronin’s cider , and mulled wine all are going down a treat ,Gavin Duffy of dragons den and some Munster rugby players are around and I get a few photos the expo is very busy and at 7.50 I’m off to do the cooking demo , till 9 and back to the stand to finish up ,

After a clean-up I’m back to the restaurant by 10 o clock and the lads are cleaning down after a busy night so it is place the last orders and home by 11 o clock ,

Saturday and in the restaurant by 9.30 Paul and veronica are in as well after checking in for the days specials its pack up and off to the expo by 10.30 and ready to go by 11 when the doors open until 2

So it is clean down and take the stand and cooking unit down pack up and back to the restaurant at 3.30, straight into the prep for tonight Christmas parties in tonight , and a surprise canapes and sandwiches for 6 o clock the restaurant is busy for lunch , by 5 we are set to go it is Saturday night so a full house, Paul is on starters I’m on main courses and ger will do the pass with veronica on pastry, at 10 o look the last mains are sent out and we start cleaning down and I write Sundays menu by 10.45 I’m leaving ,

Sunday is a late start for me and I arrive at 12.30 lunch has already started Paul  and ger are set.

Sunday lunch is as usual a busy one with a full house, James arrives at 4 and takes over from Paul who starts setting up for tonight, by 5 we change over to evening menu and Paul heads away at 6 and myself and James do evening service which finishes at 9 and we clean the kitchen down and I place the orders for the morning.

Monday morning and in at 10  Paul is in and I start with a prep list and start prep and menus for the day, and start the ordering for the next two days and looking forward to next weekend,

Throughout the day speaking with suppliers about the coming week and what they have in season, menus laid out for the week I speak with Paul and decide on what we will forage wild to add to the menu and about upcoming events , the culinary gangsters have a demo later in the week so after speaking with Kevin and James menu and work plans laid out for the demo, by 2.30 I’m off to Tralee to return the cooking unit and back by 3.30 to finish off the prep and orders, and into evening service, and a few more calls , by 7.50 I’m off again to a meeting about the Listowel food fair of which I’m involved , and I’m home by 10.30, a quick call to Paul to check everything was alright.

As I sit down with a cuppa it is time to write the baking tips for #cupcakehour a twitter hour on all things baking which I write weekly baking tips for and can be seen here on the blog.

Off on Tuesday bar a few calls to and from suppliers , Tuesday night I sit down to write my weekly piece for the Tralee advertiser

Wednesday morning and it’s a meeting and photo shoot for catex event in February and Wednesday night a meeting at 7 in Tralee with transition Kerry and home by 11

Thursday and in the restaurant by 9.30 check the bookings for the weekend and place the orders while setting up for lunch by 4 today im leaving to head to ballyroe hotel for another cooking demo with paul james and kevin set up and ready to go by 7 the demo kicks off at 8 till ten time to clean down and head home , feet up with a cuppa by 11

Well folks that is My week Friday to Friday this week , each week brings something different and as we head into the Christmas season it will bring its fair share

follow chef noel on twitter @chefnoek and Instagram @chefnoelkeane