It’s inevitable at this time of year to reflect on the past 12 months, to re-evaluate ideas and create new ambitions. It’s time for New Year resolutions. With their fingers on the pulse, chefs are our food trendsetters, but what are they looking at achieving themselves in 2018? By Dee Laffan.
“I’m hoping to see the continued support for producers by chefs who are taking a leap of faith with new products like Ballymakenna Farm, Drummond House Garlic, Gaelic Escargot, to name a few. The chef/producer relationships through organisations such as Euro-Toques, Blas na hÉireann and Bord Bia are only growing from strength to strength. Buy Irish, promote Irish.”
Kate Lawlor, The Oyster Tavern, Cork
“It’s all about the sustainably of produce and chefs and staying true to your principles.
Simply put, we all hear and talk about protecting local produce, and rightly so. However, we need to be willing and brave enough to stand by what we talk about and not just use buzzwords. Source well, look at what you buy and what is wasted – can we buy less, be more creative and look at how we utilise our waste.
This is relevant more than ever, but more important for me is protecting our industry. Chefs are more difficult to source now more than ever. If we don’t challenge and change our culture in kitchens, adopt practices from industry that promotes inclusion and progression we’re dead.
“Finally, principles… Adopt some, live them and stay away from the gimmicks. Be real to yourself and your craft.”
Mark Anderson, Gather & Gather (IE)
“Pay more attention to my body. So many chefs work themselves to physical and mental exhaustion. Exercise to enjoy, eat to enjoy, and don’t be afraid to make time for yourself, and say no once in awhile.”
Ethna Reynolds, Nook Café & Restaurant, Coolooney, Co. Sligo
“My recipe for my new work/life balance = Ingredients: time and perspective; Method: take a little time, mix with a little perspective and enjoy with family and friends.”
Kevin Thornton, Kevin Thornton’s KOOKS, Ranelagh, Dublin
“To work smarter not harder, reduce hours and create a sustainable work life balance.”
Robin Gill, The Dairy, The Manor, Counter Culture & Paradise Garage, London, and MasterChef Ireland judge
“Keep enjoying and creating family time is mostly important. Keep growing the success of ChanChan company and learning how to break into the Hong Kong market. We just signed and doubled our allotment crop capacity for 2018 to grow our own garlic for black garlic and ChanChan sauce and also continue to grow our Japanese shiso crop for restaurants in 2018. Creating more retail products and food collaborations with pop-ups using our products, like our first Duck Spice Bag in DUCK, Dublin.
Finally, there’s a deeper part of me that wants to get a small commercial space in 2018-19 to get back in the kitchen and bring creative Hong Kong street food into Dublin.”
Kwanghi Chan, chef & owner of ChanChan
“More water, less wine, more fish, less meat, more swimming.”
Kevin O’Toole, Chameleon Restaurant, Temple Bar, Dublin
“Cook more, eat more, travel more (can’t resist a day out!). My prediction: I think 2018 will be the year of the dessert trolley.”
JR Ryall, Ballymaloe House, Shanagarry, Cork
“It’s so easy to get caught up in the rat race, so I plan to set more goals for myself and to stand back more often this year and take count of where I am and where I need to go!”
Shane Smith, Airfield Estate, Dundrum, Dublin
“To look after ‘ourselves’. Food On The Edge 2017 really focused on mental health in the industry and that message needs to sink in.”
Dave Mullan, Eithnas by the Sea, Mullaghamore, Co. Sligo
“Taking better care of myself.”
Sasu Laukkonen, Ora Restaurant, Helsinki, Finland
“My new year’s resolution is to spend more time with my family. My eldest child turned 13 recently and it reminded me that time passes by quickly. So often we forget to teach those around us the skills we have learned. This year, I would like to take time to teach my children the value of good food, clever cooking and the love of family #sharetheloveofcooking”
Shamzuri Hanifa, The Cottage Restaurant & Buffalo Boy, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim
“To grow our own herbs/veggies in Clenaghans Restaurant. And learn something new!”
Danni Barry, Clenaghans Restaurant, Aghalee, Co. Antrim
“I have the year to write the Irish Food Cookbook! It’s due in January 2019 and published October 2019 by Phaidon Press. I also plan to push the food education agenda more this year with Richard Bruton TD… We need a food subject in our primary schools.”
JP McMahon, Aniar Restaurant, Cava Bodega and Tartare Café & Wine Bar, Galway
“Keep learning so many more foodie things with my team and look after myself and my family.”
Neven Maguire, MacNean House, Blacklion, Co. Cavan
“Up my pickle and preserve game #wastenotwantnot”
Anna Haugh, chef & star of BBC’s Royal Recipes
“Focus more on stress management for myself and my team. Sustainability is about more than just the ingredients! To write a 3fe cookbook. Step back and take a look at what you have achieved as opposed to what’s next, sometimes it’s important to reflect. Work directly with more producers. Focus on quality and not trends. Eat more of our fabulous food that this city and country has to offer.
And finally, reach out… This has been the best thing I did this year; ask for help/advice from my peers. We are an amazing support network to have.”
Hilary O’Hagan-Brennan, 3FE & Five Points, Dublin
“2018 is going to be quite an adventure. We’ve just bought a house and are opening a new restaurant, ichigo ichie, which could be a Ireland’s first Kappou Kaiseki restaurant. Both family and business is always a challenge and still this mission is going on in my life.
As I have a lot of new projects (both family & business) in 2018, my new year’s resolution is not to forget the origin and spirit of each project. There is an old Japanese saying, ‘Never forget the original intention’ – “初心、忘れるべからず”
Takashi Miyazaki, Miyazaki, Cork
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