Showing posts with label CIT. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CIT. Show all posts

Monday, April 16, 2018

Mise en place saves your ass. Chatting with Oyster Tavern Head Chef Kate Lawlor


Mise en place saves your ass 
Chatting with Oyster Tavern Head Chef Kate Lawlor
Kate in her Fenn's Quay days with John and Sally McKenna (left). See Kate
on RTE 1 on April 18th (8.30pm) in Healthy Appetite

Kate Lawlor, for so long associated with Fenn’s Quay, is now enjoying her Head Chef role at The Oyster Tavern in Cork city centre. And the team there, quite a young one, have a great chance to learn from one of the hardest working chefs around but one who enjoys “teaching others the joy of cooking, taking raw ingredients and making wonderful dishes.  I also enjoy heading to the English Market and meeting suppliers”. 

Her aim now is make the Oyster and its food offering better known among the public. We caught up with Kate after a lovely meal in the Oyster and enjoyed this chat.



I know you were sad to leave Fenn’s Quay. But you’re still on familiar ground and things have worked out well?
 After a little break after closing Fenn’s, it felt right to take on the role in the Oyster with its history and of course its location on Market Lane into the English Market. It’s taken me a few months to settle into new surroundings but, with the support of Bob (general manager) Dee (restaurant manager ) and Chris Curtin (assistant head chef)  and team, menus are coming together nicely. 

What direction is cooking here at The Oyster taking? What can we expect in the near future?
It’s very much a simple approach to good quality produce sourced within the English Market with a few Fenn’s classics popping up such as the flourless chocolate pudding  and the warm chicken salad on the lunch. There is a big emphasis on steaks and fish which will continue to evolve with the seasons. 

How did you start in the business? Was there a good cook at home or other family inspiration?
 Having taken up Home Ec in Secondary School my first summer job was in a cafe kitchen aged 16. I really enjoyed it, the cooking, the creating, so it was suggested I apply to what was then Cert in Cork Institute of Technology and the rest you could say is history. In later years I returned to complete a degree in Culinary Arts. 

Do you shout in the kitchen?
I tend not to. I learnt early on I didn’t like being shouted at and therefore I shouldn’t shout at someone, it only makes the situation worse. 

The importance of prepping. Do you ever have enough time in the kitchen?  
Some days are easier than others. There is  a great saying “mise en place saves your ass “ and it’s true. Still, you do have days when you feel you’re never on top of it but, with a great team behind you, you get there in the end.

Sourcing and provenance is important to you?
For me it is. It may cost a bit more but it’s worth it as I like to know the person behind the products and learn about how it’s made 

Have you ever come up with a dish by accident, a fluke?
Specials for me are always a bit of a fluke as always last on the prep list. Recently I cooked some pearl barley with carrots onions and some fennel seeds, added cabbage & prawn & a dash of lemon served with turbot & butternut squash purée. It truly was a dish I was super proud of.  

Meat as back-up, not the main feature in a dish? Will that happen?
Attitudes to food are changing but still our meat sales outweigh the vegetarian at present so I can’t see that happening. 

What non-Irish cuisine do you like most?
At present Japanese. Its clean flavours in the broths and the precision is mesmerising .

What is the best meal you’ve ever had?
Hard to pick out one in particular. Really enjoyed Nathan Outlaw and JP McMahon's collaboration in Aniar, Purnell's in Birmingham , 1826 in Adare. But best in the last 12 months was when I collaborated with Derry Clarke’s menu at the Oyster last November. 

Kate is set to star, along with Donegal's Gary O'Hanlon, in the first episode of a new RTE cooking series called Healthy Appetite, which is all about good food.  Episode one kicks off on RTE1 on Wednesday, April 18th at 8.30pm. 


See A Specials Evening at The Oyster Tavern.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Brendan Cashman and the magic of Brining


Brendan and the magic of Brining

Chef Brendan Cashman brought his cooking magic to CIT this week. Turkey, Smoked Salmon, Pan Roast Squab Pigeon and a dark Chocolate Cake were all on the list but it was brining that caught the attention of the audience.

Brendan, giving his services free for this charity event (in aid of St Vincent de Paul), started the evening with a demo of his Alternative to Smoked Salmon. The cure here consisted of lemon zest, dill, coarse sea salt, castor sugar and peppercorns. Samples were soon passed a round amid hums of approval.

The main practical demo had Brendan showing us how to cook his Pan Roast Squab Pigeon and Confit leg. The crown had been placed in brine for four hours. But before the pigeon was finished, we had a break, enjoyed some sweet delights produced by the CIT students.
Confit leg: Brendan and the pigeon leg
that he transformed into a tasty "lollipop"

Back to the splendidly appointed demo area then and Brendan explained the Brining. “Several years ago, I began to brine all kinds of meats, fish and vegetables to ‘infuse’ or impart more depth of flavour. In simple scientific terms it breaks down the muscle filaments, helping tenderise the meats. Once the filaments have broken down they can begin to absorb the flavours in the brine.”

Bringing was one of preserving options used before the refrigerator and is now making a huge comeback in modern cuisine, particularly in Scandinavia, and is an everyday approach to flavour enhancement in Michelin starred kitchens all over the world.

All attendees received a bunch of recipes, along with detailed instructions on curing, smoking and brining. Brining was again the main topic in the closing question and answer session.

At the very end, we had the results of the raffle for St Vincent de Paul and glad to say I was among the many winners of Christmas goodies. Great cause and a great demo. Well done to CIT’s Tourism and Hospitality Department and to Dr. Margaret Linehan, the Head of School of Humanities, and her staff, who organised the event.

Brendan is officially starting his cookery school in Douglas in the New Year but there are a couple of opportunities to enhance your Christmas cooking skills before then as he has two two-night courses taking place on the 10th and 17th and also on the 11th and 18th of December. For bookings contact him at brendancashman12@gmail.com or telephone 021-4365083.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Chef Rory O'Connell Cookery Demo at CIT

Chef Rory O'Connell Cookery Demo at CIT



On Tuesday next, May 1st, at 7.00pm, renowned Chef Rory O'Connell, will lead a cookery demonstration of English Market produce at the Department of Tourism and Hospitality, Cork Institute of Technology. The Market traders are hoping that the initative will "marry practice with the theory" and the organisers are also hoping that funds will be raised for Cork Penny Dinners. Tickets cost twenty euro and are available from ABC and Iago in the market.