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Monday, April 30, 2012
Congrats to Jeni Pim who won the Fenn's Quay Chef du Jour 2012 in a cook off with Sarah O'Riordan over four courses last night. Jeni is pictured above receiving her prize from Michael Creedon of Bradley's (the sponsors).
Photos, clockwise from top left: Antipasti of Bruschetta with Bloody Mary Shot (by J), the two starters, on a judge's plate, (Baby Beetroot and Shallot Tatin (J), Crispy Duck Egg with Asparagus soldiers (S), Tiramisu Cake (J), Lamb Neck Fillet (S), Beef and Beetroot Slider (S) and Churros with mocha ganache and chocolate mousse (S).
So well done to the earlier contestants, Paul Callaghan and Paul Axford, to Kate Lawlor and her team at Fenns Quay and thanks also to my fellow judges Margaret Smith and Evin O'Keeffe.
Thursday, March 8, 2012
Well Done Sarah
Congrats to Sarah O’Riordan who qualified for the final of the Fenn’s Quay Chef du Jour competition with a top class display in the restaurant last evening. Her excellent cooking earned her 4.5 points, enough to give her a head to head with Jeni Pim in the decider next month.
Sarah’s mains was a terrific Confit of duck, with buttered carrots, carrot jelly, carrot mouse and nutmeg dauphinoise. The duck was cooked to perfection and the nutmeg/potato combination was also top notch.
Her starter too caught the eye. This was a Beetroot risotto with Ardsallagh goat’s cheese and a better root crisp. Again, this was done to perfection and the cheese and the one or two beetroot cubes provided a balancing tang.
Another highlight was her breads, including a cracking nutty brown. All in all, it looks like a thriller coming up in April (probably the last Sunday) between two well matched contestants!
Thursday, March 1, 2012
Axford’s 4-Point Display At Fenn’s Quay
Amateur chef, and avid Rugby League fan (Leeds Rhinos), Paul Axford played a stormer in the Fenn’s Quay Chef du Jour Competition and his four star display puts him in a strong position against direct semi-final rival Sarah O’Riordan who gets her game-time in the Sheare’s Street venue next Wednesday (8.00pm). The winner will face Jeni Pim in the April final.
Axford got off to a flying start with his Amuse Bouche, a perfectly executed and tasty Beef Carpaccio in a horse radish bilini. Can we have more please was the response.
I was also more than pleased with the starter: Smoked Salmon and prawn crepe, fennel salad with oyster crème. An excellent combination, well balanced, well presented and well cooked. So far, so very good.
The main course was a pretty tough assignment; maybe not for a small group but certainly if you’re cooking for a large bunch of mainly strangers. It was Toulouse and pistachio stuffed chicken with pommes Boulanger and seasonal vegetables.
Some reservations were expressed about the chicken being on the dry side, not enough sauce, but I thought the cabbage provided the necessary moisture and polished it off.
The dessert, individual dishes of Raspberry Baked Alaska, was another winner. Melt in the mouth stuff! Lucie Axford was at my table and, though she had been “force fed “f our of these earlier in the week, had no bother polishing this one off. Neither did I.
Then I retired with fellow judges Margaret Smith and Evin O’Keeffe and we soon agreed on four stars. Head Chef Kate Lawlor made the presentation and now we all await another big night next Wednesday!
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
FENN’S QUAY FOODIE FACE-OFF
Fair play to Fenn’s Quay’s Head Chef Kate Lawlor: she has organised another foodie face-off in her restaurant over the coming Wednesdays. Paul Axford and Sarah O'Riordan are the contestants in the second semi-final of what is properly called Chef du Jour and the winner will take on Waterford’s Jeni Pim (above, left, with Kate) in the final.
First up is Paul Axford who takes over the kitchen on Wednesday the 29th. Kate tells me this enthusiastic amateur cook has “a nicely constructed menu”. Paul is fit and ready to go and there could be tackles flying in the kitchen as he is a rugby league aficionado with a particular gra for the Leeds Rhinos. You may read all (well, maybe not all!) about him on his blog http://probablyranting.wordpress.com and stay in touch via his tweets at @paxo13.
A week later, on March 7th, Sarah O’Riordan presents her menu. Sarah has a “proper” food blog at http://yummynom.blogspot.com and her twitter handle is @yummynom. Kate: “Our second contestant is also an enthusiastic cook and Sarah has come up with a quirky menu. She is buzzing with excitement and looking forward to her shift in the kitchen.”
“On each night, our guests will be treated to a 4 course menu at the reduced price of €36 and there will be a selection of wines available on the night for purchase. With communal tables, it's a great night for all foodies to chat about the food and wine. They will meet their chef and see how many stars the judges award.”
The first semi-final took place before Christmas when Waterford’s Jeni Pim got the nod ahead of Clare resident Paul Callaghan.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
FENN’S QUAY: CHEF DU JOUR
Congrats to Waterford’s Jeni Pim, the winner of the first head to head in the Chef du Jour competition organized by the energetic Kate Lawlor, the Head Chef at Fenn’s Quay, one of Cork’s favourite restaurants.
Jeni got the nod ahead of Clare resident Paul Callaghan. But both were winners, brave and accomplished amateurs entering the professionals' den and each holding the nerves to come up with an excellent evening meal, each of four courses. Quite a daunting prospect but the two came through with flying colours in Fenn’s Quay.
|Click on image to enlarge. Clockwise - From top left, Jeni and Kate, Dessert duo, dessert trio. Paul, Cranberry shot, petits fours, Coq au Vin|
Paul: Cherry Tomato with Ardsallagh goats cheese, basil pesto and a sea salt cracker.
Jeni: Sweet Potato salad with a cranberry shot.
A pretty even start but I think Paul’s was that bit more inventive and I gave him the thumbs up here.
Paul: Mussels (Oysterhaven) cooked with bacon and Stonewell cider.
Jeni: Venison Sausage with onion marmalade and crostini.
Nothing wrong with the mussels but the more adventuresome Jeni went ahead here and the venison proved very popular.
Paul: Rosscarbery pork belly with potato and horseradish puree, braised red cabbage with a mulled red wine jus.
Jeni: Coq au Vin with celeriac mas, rosemary jelly warm spinach and mushroom salad.
This was of course the major round and a major point gatherer for Jeni with her unusual version of the French classic and a terrific salad. The pork belly was less well received, people not happy with an excess of fat. The excellent braised red cabbage, which really balanced the dish, arrived somewhat late at the table.
Paul: A trio of desserts - White chocolate cheese cake, mixed berry crumble and meringue tower of strawberries and vanilla cream.
Jeni: Dessert duo of Green tea parfait with plums and oatmeal shortcakes with warm
Well, it was sweet heaven each night. This was really a strong point for Paul but Jeni kept very much in touch with her offering and indeed scored again with her tempting selection of petits fours that came with the tea and coffee.
The evening was also enhanced by a very nice aperitif from Fenns Quay and by some excellent wines (White Ventenac Chenin Colombard 2010, Red: Domaine d'Angayrac Costières de Nimes 2009: Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre) from River Wines.
And there were loads of valuable spots, provided by the restaurant itself, Michael Wall, River Wines and Margaret Smith
Judges over the two nights included Elke O’Mahony*, Evin O’Keeffe, Michael Logan and Margaret Smith. Paul was awarded 3.5 stars for his menu while Jeni was showered with 4.5. Well done to both.
*Read Elke’s review of the first night here
Thursday, November 17, 2011
FENNS QUAY CHEF DU JOUR
Fenns Quay head chef Kate Lawlor is a busy girl these days. Not alone is she organising the day to day menus for the popular city centre restaurant and, of course the Christmas menus, but she is also running an innovative competition where a guest chef takes over the Fenns Quay kitchens for a night.
This is an unusual event and should be great fun for foodies. Places are limited and the number to ring to reserve is 021 4279527.
Paul Callaghan is the first to enter the stage. Paul is from County Clare and, briefly, this is his story: Ran my own Plastering business but have had to adapt to change, Irish food blogger, veg grower, trying sustainable living and loving it! You can find out more about him and his cooking skills on his blog at http://www.thesustainablelarder.com/
Paul will be on next Tuesday (22nd) and the following night the spotlight will be on Waterford’s Jeni Pim who is looking forward to the night: “Yes, a big change from my little kitchen in the middle of nowhere, at least I won't have to dig all the veg for it!.” You’ll find her on Twitter at JeniPim.
Kate has been looking for judges for the event and yours truly has been roped in. On the opening night, I’ll be with Elke O’Mahony of Cork Slow Food and Evin O’Keeffe . On Wednesday, I’ll be joined by Margaret Smith and by Michael Logan of River Wines.
Kate Lawlor (right) is determined that the foodie fun won’t stop there. “We are planning a second head to head between two different chefs in January with a final pencilled in for April. And already there has been some interest in those!”
A good start is half the battle so get on down to the Sheares Street venue next week (22nd and 23rd) and have yourself a great night out which, including the wines, will cost €50.00.