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I cook Modern European food with an Irish influence. Although I’m based in London, my food is connected to Ireland and I’m always looking for great farmers, butchers, small fisheries and cheese suppliers. In the kitchen, I like to make everything from scratch and as the seasons change, I get excited about changing the menu to suit – this is made easier when you have brilliant Irish producers and suppliers to celebrate.
One of my favourite suppliers in Ireland is Burren Farm in Kilfenora. Stephen and Eva Hegarty believe in sustainable farming and don’t use chemical fertilisers or pesticides – their ethos is ‘farm to plate’ and they keep everything as natural as possible. They have a small herd of continental beef cattle and free-range Saddleback pigs. Everything is farmed in a traditional way and they keep their cattle outdoors, with shelter, all year around – always producing the best quality pork and beef.
Another favourite is the The Burren Smokehouse, owned and managed by husband and wife team, Birgitta and Peter Curtin. The salmon arrives fresh from the organic fish farms on the Irish Atlantic coast and the team smoke to the highest standards on-site. Clonakilty Blackpudding is where I get my puddings. It’s the leading black pudding in Ireland, made using premium Irish beef. Colette Twomey is the sole owner and the only person who knows the secret spice mix – using a recipe that originated in the town of Clonakilty in the 1880s – and hasn’t changed it since. I often use Wild Irish Seaweed, which is sustainably hand harvested by the Talty Family off the coast of Co. Clare.
All their seaweeds are 100% naturally grown and organically certified, ensuring only the finest end product.
St Tola Irish Goat Cheese is known as one of the premium artisan products in Ireland. It has been hand-made to suit individual customers’ needs and requirements in the townland of Inagh, just south of the Burren in County Clare since the early 1980s. The St Tola herd of goats are reared on 65 acres of unspoiled pasturelands – considered some of the finest and purest farmland of its type in Europe.
I would also recommend The Market Butchers who now have sites in Kildare, Rathcoole and Dublin, but deliver to customers far and wide. They are committed to producing farm-fresh meats by sourcing the best produce available from responsible farms, following time-honoured methods of selecting, hanging and maturing, and using traditional butchering methods and skills with a modern twist.
Originally published in Feb 19
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