Friday, 6 February 2015

" Girl Power is back "The New Age of Irish Chefs, Grainne O'Keefe,Kate Lawlor,Jessica Murphy,Louise Bannon & Maria Raftery The Taste Magazine Feb edition 2015

The New Age of Irish Chefs – Watch out Boys !!! Girl Power is back… by Robert Jacob


Last November, San Pellegrino, ambassador of Italian taste and fine dining, launched a global talent search to find the Best Young Chef 2015.
 Young Chefs from all over the world were invited to apply, outlining their signature dish on,the online magazine for worldly food enthusiasts.The Chefs had to be 30 or under and working as professionals in a restaurant as chefs, sous chefs or chef de partie for at least a year.
 ALMA, the world’s leading international educational and training centre for Italian Cuisine, selected the first 10 finalist from each region according to five golden rules ; ingredients, skills, genius, beauty & message.
 Four young Chefs from Ireland have made it to the UK-Ireland shortlist. Mark Moriaty of The Culinary counter; Stephen Holland of Lough Erne Resort, Enniskillen; Maria Elena Martinez Otero of The Four Season and Sarunas Godovan of Tankardstown House, Slane.
 They will now embark on a once in a lifetime journey and cook their way into the hearts of four of Ireland and the United Kingdom leading Chefs, all with incredible gastronomic success stories and no less that 5 Michelin * between them, Oliver Dunne of Bon Appetit, Clare Smyth of Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Atul Kotchar of Benares and Daniel Doherty of Duck & Waffle, to earn their place in the final taking place in Milan later in June.
Following on from previous collaboration with Missoni and Bulgari, San Pellegrino announces a new partner this year in Vogue Italia, another iconic Italian brand that shares the same quintessentially ideals including culture, togetherness, creativity and beauty. Vogue Italia will match the 20 chef finalist with 20 emerging fashion designers and each designer will interpret the chef’s signature dish with his/her own creation. The culmination of the San Pellegrino Awards will be on June 25th – 27th in Milan, where S. Pellegrino will be the official sponsor of Expo Milano 2015.

Here at home, our own rising stars quickly making their mark on the culinary & restaurant platform have all been women. Grainne O’Keefe, Senior Sous chef at Pichet, Dublin; Kate Lawlor, Head chef/owner of Fenn’s Quay ,Cork; Maria Raftery, Head chef at Zuni, Kilkenny; Jessica Murphy, Head chef/owner of Kai cafe & restaurant, Galway and Louise Bannon, Sous chef, Noma, Copenhagen & Japan.
These five great female chefs have been very consistent and are constantly chasing standards in presenting us with innovative menus bursting with flavours, textures and colours, while using fresh organic produce from local artisan suppliers.

  • Ms O’Keefe of Pichet is ready to be the next Clare Smyth and has already shown her skills by working her way through the ranks at Pichet for the last 3 years and is presently Senior Sous chef at the award winning restaurant. With its’ upbeat atmosphere and impeccable service, the Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant is going from strength to strength, weekday, lunchtimes and weekends, for lunch and dinner, at each seating, every table is full.

Pichet  1-2

Salmon Tartar, compressed cucumber, radish & avocado

Pichet 2

Roast Scallop, slowcooked short rib, jerusalem artichoke & parmesan foam

Pichet Restaurant, Trinity street, Dublin 2
Tel: 01-6771060

  • While in Cork, following her beliefs in using the very best of Irish produce available both locally and elsewhere, Kate Lawlor of Fenn’s Quay has worked very hard in putting her stamp on the restaurant menu, hence it is of no surprise that it is one of the culinary delights of Cork. In cosy surroundings , where service blends friendliness and professionalism, Kate’s award winning cuisine is sure to impress any visitor to Cork City.

Fenn’s Quay won Best Restaurant in Cork at the Restaurant Association of Ireland Awards 2014

Fenns Quay 1

Braised feather blade of beef cooked in Dungarvan black rock stout with Ballhoura mushroom duxelle & vegetable crisps

This has become a house speciality and goes spectacularly well with her legendary Smoked Gubbeen mash.

Fenns Quay 2

Carragen moss with cider poached apples & raisins with Baldwin’s ice cream

Otherwise known as the Irish pannacotta as well as a traditional dish given a new lease of life here.

Fenn’s Quay, no 5 Sheares street, Cork City.
TEL: (021) 4279527

  • Jessica Murphy of Kai, Galway is constantly pushing boundaries with furious creativity. Her ingenious cooking is a wild riot of flavours, textures and colours. Whether it’s smoking, pickling, curing, foraging , it just seems that there is nothing that she can’t cook. Her philosophy is all about the finest, freshest seasonal local produce.

I am a fervent follower of Jess’s instagram acc, curious to see as to what she is up to next and it is always thought provoking with plenty of humour.

Voted Best Chef& Best Restaurant in Connaught at the Food & Wine Awards

Kai Cafe 1

Clare Venison tartar with ink lavosh, watercress and pink peppercorns

Kai Cafe 2

Mc Geough’s air dried ham, sheep cheese and pears

Kai Cafe & Restaurant, sea road, Galway.
Tel: (091)526003

  • Louise Bannon of Noma is currently rocking it with Rene Redzepi ‘s team, launching Noma, Japan. This is a lady with the ability to produce great cooking appropriate to the season and relies on the finest sustainably sourced, organic produce. Her concept in striving for delicious flavours and environmental harmony, will invite diners to partake in the immediacy and excitement of vegetables just out of the soil, fruits right off the branch and fish just out of the sea such as this dish I sampled a while back.

Louise Bannon, noma 1

Razor clams, radish & rapeseed oil

Noma, Copenhagen & Japan

  • Maria Raftery of Zuni has been a key player in the now thriving Kilkenny food scene, helping to support local producers and growers. She is active in the Kilkenny food festival and the flavours and tastes she creates are modern Irish with hints and influences from around the globe.

Zuni Picture 1

Apple trifle, apple jelly, caramel custard, calvados cream, bulmers granita & apple doughnut.

Zuni, 26 Patrick Street, Kilkenny.
Tel: (056) 7723999

It seems that Girl Power is Back in force , so take note boys !!! you don’t want to be left behind.

©2012-2015;Robert Jacob;jacob'scrackers;jacobscrackers9; All rights reserved

Monday, 2 February 2015

The Chop House Gastro Pub, The Taste Magazine Feb edition 2015

The Chophouse Review by Robert Jacob


Often there’s no faster route to total satisfaction than a sudden surge of spontaneity and set out in search of a carnivore’s feast. To satisfy this urge and raise our weather dampened souls last week, we headed down to The Chophouse on Shelbourne road.

The Chophouse Gastro Bar is a relaxed eatery offering a dining concept within a pub style setting. Chef/owner Kevin Arundel is committed to using the finest Irish produce to create dishes that are fresh and in season but as the name suggest, the speciality here is quality Irish meats, which are sourced from farms in Co. Roscommon  and Louth. From Dexter, Hereford, Limousin & Porterhouse to mention a few, along with lamb and pork choices,the menu caters for all tastes and includes a good selection of fish dishes as well, which are updated every morning on their blackboards scattered across the restaurant.

We were seated at a corner table by large Windows painted in Elephant grey, filling the spacious room with glorious light. It felt very welcoming and unpretentious.

An interesting menu, all very reasonably priced, included Starters of 5 Miletown goats cheese, Aubergine caviar, Salted Hazelnut, Tomato& red pepper dressing @ €9.00 or how about a Ballotine of smoked Ham hock & Foie Gras @ €11.50, with Spiced apple & Pear, Fennel salad or an inviting Ravioli Ricotta & Wild Mushrooms @ €9.50 with Walnut, baby spinach & porcinni sauce.

My starter of Caramelised Scallops, Double Alsace bacon & sweet celeriac puree @ €14.00 exceeded my expectation. Moist & silky, it melted in the mouth with just a hint of smokiness from the crispy bacon and complimented by the smooth and velvety sauce to make it a perfect mouthful.


Moving onto mains courses, are familiar fares of 35 day dry aged Limousin or Hereford Beef, 10oz Rib eye steak @ €28.00,includes sides of garlic green beans,caramelised onion & twice cooked chips and a choice of cracked black peppercorn, Bearnaise or garlic butter, or Roast lion of Wild Wicklow Venison, buttered Kale, celeriac puree, Jackmac’s black pudding & Veal jus cream @ €28.00, or simply Roast breast of free range chicken, Wild mushroom & scallion creamy, pomme puree & cep cream @€19.00. Must be the best chicken in town, it brought back memories of Chicken cooked in my mother’s kitchen and of her mother’s before that.

On this occasion, I opted for the Chump of Slane Valley lamb, organic carrot puree, savoy cabbage, fondant potato & port jus @ €27.00. It was delicious. The lamb was tender and fell apart at the touch of one’s fork, it sat atop delicately sauteed savoy cabbage. And the fondant potato was pure indulgence, the accompanying sauce helped to balance out this perfect dish, ideal for this wintry evening or a Sunday lunch. It fulfilled all requirements.

The Grilled Fillet of Irish Hereford Beef, with gratin potato, horseradish & parmesan crust, spinach & garlic cream @ €32.00 was equally delicious, full of flavour and beautifully cooked to medium rare as requested. The potato gratin was creamy while the sautee spinach added a smack of freshness to this perfect feast.


For Desserts, on the recommendation of very pleasant waitress Cathy, I chose the Bailey’s & Mascarpone mousse with berry compote and granola. The mousse was smooth and wonderfully light and ever so lightly flavoured with the liqueur that it didn’t overpower while the granola added a welcoming touch of textures Perfect and was an ideal choice to compliment our meal and as the evening ebbed away, we thought, .. Yes, this is exactly what was needed and how a cold wintry evening should be spent.

The Chophouse is very popular with locals as well as with business people from the surrounding areas but I also see group of friends and couples who want some tasty food before hitting the Aviva Stadium for a Concert or en route to Sandymount beach or the RDS in Ballsbridge.

We loved the emphasis on local produce, friendly, attentive staff and the relaxed vibe of the place.
Well worth a visit and excellent value for great food.

The Chophouse Gastro Pub
2, Shelbourne Road,
Dublin 4
Tel: 01- 6602390

©2012-2015;Robert Jacob;jacob'scrackers;jacobscrackers9; All rights reserved