March 21st -Ireland in an Hour. Part 2


Tasting Room Radio B_BANNER2
Ireland is a nation of storytellers. It’s a talent everyone seems to have. All we did was travel through the South West Coast, Cork and Dublin and we had enough interviews for Two One Hour Specials.
THIS is Part Two. It features some of Irelands most famous culinary stars and The Julia Child of Ireland.


 What a great line up. Award winning Chefs, teachers, writers, experts of all stripes.
We start in Cork City… South of Dublin on the West Coast of Ireland.
It’s the home of Café Paradiso, one of the best vegetarian restaurants anywhere.
It’s also the home of Chef Denis Cotter.  Except for a pal Sharon Kelly, Denis is the only person  I know in all of Ireland.

Denis Cotter

Denis Cotter

We had met at Hastings House on Salt Spring Island several years ago. He was cooking recipes from his award winning book For the Love of Food.
Denis’ frustration with the limitations of the vegetarian industry sparked the opening of Cafe Paradiso in 1993, to create an environment where he could evolve a personal style of cooking focused on the pleasure of food rather than the perceived negativity of vegetarianism.
Among the many awards bestowed on Cafe Paradiso, Denis Cotter was named “Chef of the Year” by the Irish magazine ‘Food & Wine’ in 2005, and “Best Chef in Cork” by the Restaurant Association of Ireland in 2009. Cafe Paradiso is listed as an icon in the “Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Eat in Ireland” guidebook. It was voted ‘Best Restaurant in Munster’ by the readers of ‘Food & Wine’ magazine in 2001, and the restaurant was also voted ‘Restaurant of the Year’ by Les Routiers Ireland in 2004.
Denis Cotter - For the LOve of Food
Denis Cotter is the author of four cookbooks.  Each has received critical acclaim, shortlist nominations and industry awards, including ‘best vegetarian cookbook in the world’ for the second volume, Paradiso Seasons.
Without any bit of shame I’m able to weasel Denis’ classic Irish Oatmeal recipe out of him.
Joining us at the table is the one and only Darina Allen.  
darina allen

darina allen

Darina is the most famous cook in Ireland.  She has starred in her own RTE TV cooking shows, published 10 books starting with the Simply Delicious series, and received a dozen awards and prizes.  Her most recent prize was the 2013 Cookbook of the Year award at the Irish Book Awards  for her 30 Years at Ballymaloe: A Celebration of the World-Renowned Cookery School.
Ms Allen has been growing unusual food at Ballymaloe, Co Cork, for 40-odd years. Her 100-acre farm, with its acre of greenhouses, probably delivers a more diverse range of crops than any farm in Ireland. But the farm has produced something more spectacular than food: the world-famous Ballymaloe Cooking School which invites the world’s top chefs to its doors and its classrooms, and sends out successive waves of alumni to run restaurants all over the World. 30 years at Ballmahoe
A tireless ambassador for Irish food both at home and abroad, Darina has been instrumental in setting up the Farmers’ Market Movement in Ireland. Slow Food is a passion for her, and she is the councilor for Ireland in the Slow Food Movement and President of East Cork Convivium of Slow Food. Through the East Cork Educational Fund, she runs a programme for local primary schools to help local children learn about food from garden to plate.


In 2013 she helped launch the Ballymaloe Literary Festival of food and Wine which features a stellar line up of chefs and writers and has very quickly become an not to be missed event on the international culinary calendar.
L Mulligan Grocer –  Dublin 
L Mulligan

L Mulligan’s

The question wasn’t would I visit the famous L Mulligan Grocer in Dublin?  It was how fast could I get there and how long could I stay.
L Mulligan Grocer has been on the Dublin scene for the past few years and has been quietly building a great reputation as a pub worth going quite off the beaten track for. It is located in Stoneybatter, a residential area about 20 minutes walk west from Dublin city’s main tourist drag of Temple Bar. It provides thoughtful, well sourced gastropub food, and is possibly the only pub in Dublin that does not sell Guinness. A bold move, justified by its focus on small, high quality craft beers from Ireland and abroad.
Our guests are Seaneen Sullivan Co-Owner and Adam Kilbane  The Manager and Beer Specialist.
Seaneen Sullivan

Seaneen Sullivan

This was great fun.
Catherine Cleary – Food Journalist for The Irish Times
Catherine went from working the crime beat to the culinary arts. Or as she says
“I went from Murder to Meringue”
There’s been such an improvement in Irish food over the past 20 years that it falls on someone to tell their stories.
That someone is Catherine Cleary.
Catherine Cleary  Irish Times (2)
Catherine Cleary is an award-winning journalist. She began her career as a news reporter with The Irish Times and became the paper’s drugs and crime correspondent. She later joined the Sunday Tribune as its security correspondent. She began writing about food almost a decade ago and now writes a weekly restaurant column for The Irish Times.
… and we finish our Ireland tour with the highly qualified John McKenna.
John McKenna was born in Belfast and first qualified as a Barrister at Law. In addition to his legal work, John worked as a journalist in Dublin, writing particularly for Hot Press and In Dublin Magazine.
In 1991 John and Sally McKenna began their research into Irish food, giving up their Dublin flat, and splurging on a broken-down Renault 4. They set off around Ireland to discover what they hoped would be an exciting food culture, and John has written about Irish food ever since.
John and Sally McKenna
John and Sally McKenna
John McKenna has won numerous awards for his food writing . A long-time writer for the Irish Times, contributor to RTE television and news programmes, John also has written for various international publications, including The Art of Eating. He is regarded as a leading commentator on Irish food.
John and Sally McKenna’s annual 100 Best Restaurants in Ireland is the most radical guide to the cutting-edge of Irish cooking. With the 2015 smartguide edition, the McKennas rewrite the book, crowning Galway as the finest city to eat in Ireland and, for the first time ever, including food carts and a food shack amongst the 100 hottest places to eat throughout the country.
If you’re travelling to Ireland check out their websites, blogs and books.
Many thanks to Irish tourism in Toronto and Dublin.
Meg, Kate and Pete and everyone we met.


Catching up with The Wine Diva
Okanagan Falls wineries in Vancouver

March 14th –  Ireland in an hour!


Tasting Room Radio B_BANNER2

How better to celebrate St Patrick’s Day than presenting 2 One hour specials from our recent 2 weeks in Ireland.

Irish panorama
Part One starts on a farm in the South of Ireland..through Clonakilty and ends in Dublin.
Guests include c, Connor Higgins, Michael Lawlor (Irish Whiskey Tours), Michael Reddy (Teeling Whiskey) and Willie Ahearn from The Palace Pub..Fleet St.


 Gilly Murphy
We start in the very South of Ireland..outside a wonderful small town called ClonaKilty.
In a place so small..i don’t think it’s on any maps..Dunworly and Dunworly Beach.
There we meet our host at Dunworly Cottages… Gilly Murphy..who welcomes us and shows us our cottage. It was a barn built LONG AGO!
We do a quick interview about the area and Ireland..then without pause Gilly grabs her bags and is off to visit her daughter in  India. It was going to be that kind of trip.
Gilly does pop up dinners in her home – overlooking the Atlantic Ocean – and supplies organic vegetables to THE BEST  local restaurants.

beach at dunworley

beach at dunworley


 Ellen McGailey – Molly’s Wine Bar

Allison Roberts – Clonakilty Chocolate Company
 The closest town to our cottage was Clonakilty..51 km south of Cork,  on the South
West Coast of County Cork.
The first sign that caught our eye was Molly’s Wine Bar and inside we found just the perfect person to talk about wine in Ireland  Ellen McGailey who was running the place when we got there.

download (1)

Ellen McGailey

Because I knew Ireland was a well established  home for beer and whiskey,  I needed to know wines place in every day Irish social life.
Ellen fills us in on what they’re sipping and the rise of craft beer over the past 5 years.
Then she introduced me to Canadian Allison Roberts, who hails originally from Toronto.
She arrived with her musician husband via Australia.
Allison had been working with chocolate since she was a kid..most of us do get covered in chocolate as tiny little babies but she never lost interest and has just opened Clonakilty Chocolate to serious acclaim in the area.
clonakilty chocolate
clonakilty chocolate… 
After filling me in on her new venture, I wanted to know Allison’s take on the Ireland we think we know and the Ireland that IS.
It’s a fun back and forth chat. 
Deasy’s Harbour Bar and Seafood Restaurant. Ring Village, Clonakilty
Chef Caitlin Ruth
Caitlin Ruth  and owner celebrate 10 years.

Caitlin Ruth and owner celebrate 10 years.

 Even though the address says Ring Village..I drove this part of the coast a dozen times..never really saw a village..a gathering of various houses yes but a village..not so much.
Crumbling ancient buildings and stone walls – yup!
A strong sense of history on this part of the can see what attracted people even 3-500 years ago.
And there, surrounded by the ocean and a small fishing fleet stands Deasy’s.
It came highly recommended by the locals.
 The trick was getting there early enough for one of 6 parking spots just off the highway (its on a nasty little corner) and gets busy very quickly.
The reason – the amazing cooking talents of Caitlin Ruth – The Chef.
Originally from the USA, she married an Irishman and found her way back to the homeland from Belgium. 
What a fine fine chef she is..
The menu features – as expected – many different fish, in many exceptional dishes. Paired with a very smart wine list.
It used to be an old it still has that comfortable pub feel but the windows give everyone a brilliant look at the ocean just across the highway.
Highly recommended destination. Memorable meals. Great hang!! Wicked parking.

Then we’re off to Dublin..some 3-4 hours North.  Taking the train from Cork is a LOT more fun than driving..
It’s fair to say we stumbled onto a small corner lunch place called Oxmantown..where owner Conor Higgins was holding court.
Oxmantown? At the time of the Norman invasion into Ireland, the Vikings, or Ostmen (East-men), as they called themselves were exiled to the north of the River Liffey where they founded the hamlet ofAustmanna-tún, later corrupted to Oxmantown. The district remained distinct from Dublin city for many centuries. Oxmantown celebrates this cultural distinction, its location in the heart of the homestead of the Ostmen.
Conor Higgins is the chef/owner at Oxmantown. Ex of Junior’s and l’Gueuleton – two of Dublin’s most lauded and successful eateries of the past decade – his provenance is distinguished. Applying classic culinary techniques to the art of sandwich making, with Oxmantown, Conor brings something unique to Dublin’s burgeoning café scene.
Oxmantown grilled cheese

Oxmantown grilled cheese

 The line-up was all the way to the door and out..and a rather bizarre mix of lawyers and judges from the law courts  and farmers from the market around the corner.
You could tell at a glance that this place was very popular and as soon as we stepped knew they were on to something..
Great small menu..mostly well made and very  inventive sandwiches, salads etc.
Out came the microphone and recorder and in between orders etc, Conner gave us the story.. (everyone here has a story)  site is under construction but you can also find them on
 Then it’s a brisk 15 minute walk through Temple Bar (former site of original Viking settlement) Fleet Street and  the home of one of Dublin’s historic pubs..The Palace Bar, established 1823.
The Aherne family bought the Palace in 1946..and have run it every since.
Its right around the corner from the Irish Times newspaper offices..thus many many columns have been written in its corners and nooks.
Its there that we meet three people…first

Michael Lawlor – Whiskey Expert and sales manager for Irish Whiskey Tours.
Michael Lawlor: Irish whisky Tours

Michael Lawlor: Irish whisky Tours

I don’t think you can do a food and beverage tour of Ireland and not talk about Irish Whiskey.
Its fallen on some hard times, given the economy, but its making a wonderful comeback today.
I wanted to know from their whiskey business made its comeback and why its so different from their Scottish neighbours.
We also talk craft brewing sand cider making.
Michael gives us a brief history of The Palace Bar, which was  the first bar to bring back the tradition of making in house whiskey. 
 The Palace Bar  Dublin
And then we finish off with
Willie Aherne – Grandson of the original owner and the man behind the bar on many days..and sitting beside him   Michael Reddy, one of the owners of The Teeling Whiskey Company, the first new whiskey maker in Dublin in 125 years.
 Yes, we talk all about Irish Whiskey and Dubliners love for it but we also talk about what St Patrick’s Day is like in downtown Dublin.
That last question about March 17 is also answered by one of next weeks guests..John McKenna..Mckennas Guides!!
Michael Reddy on left and his Teeling Whiskey Barrel RacingTeam

Michael Reddy on left and his Teeling Whiskey Barrel RacingTeam

 and speaking of next week

we have Ireland in an Hour Part Two..featuring some great storytellers..
 Darina Allen – the founder of the famous Ballmaloe Cooking School of Shanagarry.
2013 Winner of Irish Cook Book of the Year.
Darina has been credited with leading the movement to bring back local and regional farmers markets all over Ireland.
The author of many book and one of Ireland’s leading culinary voices.
She joins me at Café Paradiso in Cork. The home of chef Denis Cotter..Ireland’s chef of the year in 2005.
Best Chef in Cork 2009.
Catherine Cleary – Food journalist for the Irish Times. Author of the forthcoming book “The Sheridan Brothers Guide to Cheese”
Author of “For the love of Food” named best Vegetarian Cook Book in the World.
 Now a wonderful sit down.  I just knew that once I started the verbal ball rolling..Darina and Denis would take over and I could sit back and enjoy the dialogue. What they give us is a great overview of Irelands food scene which is getting better and better.
 Then there’s Ray Blackwell..who manages the famous bar and folk club de barras. And his tales of Noel Redding..who made de Barras his home club after his Jimi Hendrix days.
 We visit L Mulligan Grocer..a must see food and beer destination in Dublin..
Adam Killbain, the beer specialist and Seaneen Sullivan, who oversees the restaurant and bar talk about their clientele and about Stonybatter, the historic area they work in.
And finally John McKenna..famous Irish whiskey and food leader. He and his wife Sally run McKenna’s Guides.
 More next week OK??