Showing posts with label Pat O'Connell. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pat O'Connell. Show all posts

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Square Table Launched

The Square Table Launched
Big Night for Coolea Sisters

Top left: Graham Neville (l) with Lucy and Mark of Ballyhoura Mushrooms.
Top right: Cheers! Martina and Yours Truly.

“I wish the two sisters all the best. They have shown great courage,” said Michelin Star chef Ross Lewis as he helped officially launch The Square Table restaurant in Blarney last night. The two sisters are Patricia and Martina Cronin, both originally from Coolea and now well experienced in the restaurant world. Patricia is front of house while Martina (who has worked with Ross) is the head chef.

Martina has also worked with Graham Neville, Head Chef at Restaurant Forty One, who also spoke at the opening. Graham is rather modest and it took Ross to step in and remind us all that Neville is the reigning Food and Wine Magazine Chef of the Year.

The two girls also spoke and their first priority was to say a big thank you to the people of Blarney for their support over the past few months. Martina said they simply wanted to present good well sourced Irish food and had big thanks for three mentors in particular: Kieran Scully (Bayview Hotel), Ross Lewis (Chapter One) and, of course Graham Neville.

Their suppliers too came in for praise as did their local staff (“absolutely fantastic”), all their friends, family, especially Mum and Dad.

Ross Lewis, from Cork himself, said he knows the Cronins well! “The heroes of today are those who employ people. I started in 1993 and I know that success will come.” But he warned that staying power was needed to deal with the special demands of being an employer, including PAYE, PRSI, banks, teaching employees.

“The complexities are enormous. It is a very daunting task. But I know the Cronins are determined. Martina has the doggedness of a lion. It is amazing and great to see people that we’ve worked with get out on their own”.

The sisters were hardly on their own last evening. There was a terrific turnout. Suppliers present included River Wines, Ballyhoura Mushrooms and Pat O'Connell. The media and blogger world was well represented by Joe McNamee, Jack Power, Caroline Hennessy, among others. And no shortage either of fellow restaurateurs, including Nash 19 and Jacques.

The family were naturally up in force from Coolea and customers were also among the attendance. And, after the speech, Matina was back in the kitchen sending out a stream of gorgeous little bites including Durcan’s Spiced Beef, Ardsallagh Goat Cheese, Liscannor Crab, Michael Twomey’s Wagyu Rib-eye, Ballyhoura Mushrooms, and Old Millbank Smoked Salmon.

On the sweet side there were Macaroons, Poached Blackberries, Chocolate Brownies and a Lemon Cream and Blueberry meringue, all gorgeous. And no shortage of wine to wash it all down.

Thanks for the invite ladies and the best of luck in Blarney!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Pat O’Connell: The Fishmonger

Pat O’Connell: The Fishmonger

Pat O’Connell’s The Fishmonger, a memoir of life in the English Market in particular and of  growing up in Cork City in general, was launched with a shoal of fish puns in that very market in midweek.

Diarmuid O'Driscoll, himself an author (he co-wrote the market’s history, Serving a City, with his brother Donal) was breaming - well, we all caught the pun fever - as he spoke at the launch. “I was expecting a load of pollocks,” he said. “But it is brill!”

Cork's Mayor Catherine Clancy was in tip top form too as she officially launched the book for Pat who then took the mike and began talking about Pickles. We were wondering where this was leading us. But he was spot-on, comparing the sudden fame that descended on the dog Pickles after he found the stolen World Cup trophy in 1966 with Pat’s own rise to international prominence when he entertained Queen Elizabeth at his stall in the market.

And now that fame has led to the book. Pat admitted that it was a tougher assignment than anticipated and paid big tributes to his many helpers along the way, especially to his family and his great staff. He also paid a moving tribute to his departed mother and father. It was his mother Kay who started the now famous fish stall in the early sixties.
Thanks also for the Hartes (Rebecca and Kay of the Farmgate) who, with help from the traders, organised the food and drink for the evening's function. Pat said there was a great camaraderie among the traders and together it came to more than the sum of its parts. “Keep the market going,” he said. “City Hall, look after it. Future generations will thank you.” And so say all of us.

He finished by reminding us that his share of the proceeds from the book would go to Marymount Hospice: “Wonderful people, wonderful organisation.” Well done boy!