Showing posts with label Kate Lawlor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kate Lawlor. Show all posts

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Winning Blas Producers at Bank of Ireland Food Series

Winning Blas Producers 
at Bank of Ireland Food Series
Rosscarbery producer Avril Allshire with moderator Joe McNamee

Bank of Ireland Startups, who helped get the successful Backyard feature off the ground during this year’s Blas Awards in Dingle, hosted a number of follow-up events last Tuesday, including one at their premises in Patrick Street, Cork. Joe McNamee was the moderator for the evening and the principal speakers were Artie Clifford of Blas and local chef Kate Lawlor.

Lia Boyland was involved in setting up the latest Workbench Food Series Event and she welcomed us to the Workspace at the bank, explaining that the digital progress in the banking sector has freed up the space for “events like this evening”. Work spaces are available during the day - bring your laptop - and you'd never know who you might meet.

We knew though we were going to meet Artie as not alone was he a panel member but he also launching the 4th edition of the Blas na hEireann Buyers Directory.  Artie, involved in the founding of the Dingle Food Festival eleven years ago and in setting up Blas a year later, was delighted to launch the book here.

“Thank you all for coming. Eight thousand inserts (from the 10,000 copies) will be coming with your Shelflife magazine. It makes it easy for buyers and chefs to find good Irish produce. There is no charge for inclusion - it is something we want to give back. We hope this is a useful guide for sourcing Irish products and that many of the producers listed here will become your suppliers of tomorrow.”

There is a lot of work going into the new Blas website and it will include a searchable catalogue of producers, and will be ready soon. “Next, we want to do a roadshow during the year to build on it, to talk among ourselves, producers, buyers, chefs, and to get our own solutions.”

We would soon find out more about Artie, the face of Blas, as Joe McNamee asked the questions before the discussion proper (which would include quite a few producers) began. Artie, from Dundalk, was a commercial fisherman, then a ship's engineer and a skipper. In 1992, the work was in Dingle so that was where he went, his family still in Dundalk before they eventually joined him in Kerry.

Later, Artie worked in a  fish factory, most of the output for export. When the MD retired, Artie took over and looked at adding value: smoked fish, paté, chowder and so on for the home market. But costs went up, prices didn't and eventually, in 2010, the company was sold. By then Blas was just a little baby and Artie was making a few bob at Farmers Markets.

And his future then began to take shape. He told us about the first food festival in Dingle and the start of the famous Taste Trail there. “People came back year on year. In the second year of the festival, the awards became part of it and we worked hand in hand.” 

Chef Kate Lawlor was the other main guest on the night and, like Artie, she too has had her ups and downs and is fully committed to using Irish produce. An early visit to Brussels with her CIT class inspired that commitment. They were there to promote Irish food and a belief took hold that it was as good as any. She joined Fenn's Quay in 2001 and that “amazing journey” included taking it over in 2008. 

“We built a bond with local producers. I enjoy food, it should be fun and that was why I used some of the local slang on the menu. Sad to let it go this year but the producers are still talking to me.”

Artie Clifford

After the closing down of Fenn's Quay earlier this year, she took a much needed two month break - “I had run out of ideas, though there was a sense of satisfaction as well as sadness. I enjoyed the two months off and a highlight was the weekend in Dingle. This year I had the time to relax and enjoy it.”

Immediately afterwards she joined the newly reopened Oyster Tavern and the aim is to get it back to its “iconic status”. There are great young chefs there and Kate is just the person to help them. It is right alongside the market so she is back in there buying local again. “The connection  between chef and producers in very important. It leads to personal relationships and a better understanding of the product.”

After the introductions, it was time to meet the producers and we’ll cover the interesting exchanges in the next post, now available here.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Fenn’s Quay. Keeping it simple. Simply Superb.

Fenn’s Quay. Keeping it simple. Simply Superb.
Our philosophy is simple, we use only the best produce from the best local suppliers and treat them with care and attention to detail.” That’s the motto used by Kate Lawlor, the Head Chef at Fenn’s Quay. And, after a very enjoyable mid week meal at the city centre restaurant, I can verify that the place lives up to the motto and indeed extends its care and attention to its customers as well.



The overall menu has been trimmed back in recent times. The quantity of dishes available may be down but the quality is as high as ever, maybe even more so. In any event the regular menu is augmented by a tempting selection of specials: a  Mezze Platter, a Fish Platter, Beef Stroganoff with Ballyhoura Mushrooms and Pan-Fried Monkfish with Spinach all featured on the night. And, I’m told that O’Mahony’s Collar of Bacon with Savoy Cabbage, Parsnip Puree and Spiced Walnuts is one of the most popular regular dishes.

As it turned out, we never got past the Early Bird Menu, Three Courses for €23.00. This is terrific value and is available Monday to Saturday 5.00 pm to 7.00 pm. You may also have a glass of wine or beer instead of the starter or dessert.

Amazing colour on my starter: Beetroot & Cork Dry Gin Cured Salmon with Goatsbridge Trout Caviar & Mixed Leaves. Fantastic flavours and textures also. CL also got off to a terrific start with Crozier Blue Cheese Mousse, Roast Butternut Squash & Red Onion with Melba Toast. I reckon Kate has raised the bar here and thrown down a challenge to other local restaurants (and chefs!).
And that challenge, all very friendly, of course, was evident in my mains: O’Mahony’s Feather Blade of Beef with Roast Root Vegetables & Dungarvan Stout Gravy. What a gem of a dish. A few simple ingredients on an uncluttered plate but put together in a simply scrumptious way, a delightful practical illustration of the philosophy of the Fenn’s Quay motto.

And that simplicity of produce (not to mention its provenance and freshness) and presentation was also very much in evidence in CL’s main plate: Grilled plaice, with braised leeks, olive oil crushed potatoes and onion puree.
Simply written. What bit don't you understand? What bit would you not enjoy? It was, of course, aided by the Fenn’s Quay kitchen alchemy, the final result delightfully adding up to more than the sum of its parts. And, this special, even if it were not part of the Early Bird, is really good value at €15.00.

Still had room for dessert and here we went with the spirit of the season and tucked into the Fenn’s Quay Mince Pies with Cream (gorgeous buttery pastry), just one each  mind you as we shared. Drinks (a white Rioja for her, a refreshing Mountain Man Green Bullet ale for me) bought the total bill to €50.00.
Fenn’s Quay is highly recommended for breakfast, lunch and dinner and do watch out for their Christmas meals as well. You won't be disappointed.





Monday, June 24, 2013

Kate Lawlor's "Cork on a Fork recipe book"

Popular Cork Chef launches limited edition
 ‘Cork on a Fork’ recipe book.


Popular chef Kate Lawlor, of No. 5 Fenn’s Quay Restaurant, Sheares Street Cork, has cooked up a quirky new Cork-themed recipe book in celebration of the year of The Gathering. Entitled ‘Cork on a Fork- with a few spoonfuls from across the border’ it pays a foodie tribute to the ‘Real Capital’ with 14 interesting recipes with ingredients drawn from the best of Cork’s rich hinterland.

Kate told us:  ‘There’s something to tempt everyone, and they’ll find it surprisingly simple to recreate these delicious, locally-inspired dishes, examples of  which include ‘Farmers Market Cauliflower & Potato Spring Rolls’, ‘Ballea Carrigaline Lamb & Rosscarbery Black Pudding Burgers’ and ‘Kate’s Beetroot and Orange Blossom Fudge’.  Each recipe is described in an easy to follow step-by-step manner, accompanied by stunning food images that will have even the most stern foodies salivating!’ 

Kate Lawlor has always been inspired by fresh, local produce, and ‘Cork on a Fork’ is the result of a life-long love affair with Cork-inspired cuisine. She is known both nationally and locally for her passion and flair for food and is acclaimed by several food critics.  

Her award-winning food blog (www.fqchefess.blogspot.ie) is legendary, and she is a popular driver of foodie ‘tweet-ups’ and charity foodie events within the Cork area and elsewhere.  She’s very proud of No. 5 Fenn’s Quay’s Michelin recommended status, is on the council for the prestigious Eurotoques organisation as well as a member of the Irish Restaurants Association.

Kate says: “With ‘Cork on a Fork’, all of us at No. 5 Fenn’s Quay wanted to create a sassy take on a number of traditional homespun recipes. We wanted to showcase the fantastic quality of produce that Cork is renowned for and share our food philosophy which is simple: we only use the best produce from the best local suppliers and treat them with care and attention to detail.”

The team at No. 5 Fenn’s Quay are in a real sunny spot at present as they were nominated for ‘Best Digital Marketing’ at the Irish Restaurant Awards and are rolling out their summer menu full of light bites and fresh seasonal dishes like Ballyhoura mushrooms on toast with wild garlic & seaweed butter, Castletownbere scallops with Rosscarbery white pudding , carrot gel & bacon dust and The Fenns ice pop.
  
For more information or to make a booking call 021-427 9527, email fennsquay@gmail.com or visit www.fennsquay.net