Farm to Fork
Where do we source our food?
I was recently asked what influenced me in becoming a chef, what motivates me and why.
Ireland and in particular West Cork is renowned for its abundance and quality of excellent produce. I grew up surrounded by many artisan foodies as they embarked on their dreams of obtaining internationally recognised awards for their selected foods.
I observed them first hand, some my peers, and some seasoned food lovers. but what they all had and still have is a desire to create delicious, flavourful, sought after specialty products direct from the land.
Farm to Fork is an Irish concept and this is an ethos I firmly believe in. To know the source of your ingredients, not just ordering from food catalogues, but to be wholly in touch with them is to be likened to an artist with his palate of colours; endless possibilities at the end of your fingertips.
My mother is a big foodie too and I was surrounded by her cooking endeavours growing up, she started in the food business at around 14 years of age, so when I begged to be allowed to spend my summer holidays working in a kitchen aged 11, she was not only in agreement, but very encouraging and supportive.
Living on the coast means an abundance of fish and seafood, living in the Irish climate means endless fresh vegetables, meats, cheeses, fruits and much more.
A fast growing interest in travel and other cultures means a vast range of spices, herbs and other goodies to create fusion dishes and incredible food to tempt the eye and the palate.
I am lucky enough to have saffron brought directly from the growers in Morocco where it is organically grown and traditionally handpicked and dried by locals. Spices for the Moroccan dishes are brought directly too, as well as some more unusual grains and flours sourced in remote mountain villages. This supports sustainable projects and biodiversity systems, keeping traditions alive.
These are my tools and this is my playground. I am what is called "Old School", which means I have amassed skills, techniques and knowledge over the 20 plus years that are the backbone of the industry. It means I can teach through demos and classes, cater for functions in confidence and further my career with continued passion.
These are some of the amazing Food Producers, Artisans and suppliers where I source my ingredients:-
Gubbeen Farmhouse Products
Killenure Castle Dexter Irish Beef
5 Mile Goats Cheese
La Rousse Foods
P O´Connell Meats
Tiwizi Saffron Morocco