It all started in the early 90's, I was a young man who needed to provide for his daughter and to be honest hadn't a clue how to do so. I had always cooked at home for my folks and could even make a better sponge cake than my Mum, a hard thing to do as she is one of the best cooks I know.
After many months of soul searching and an off the cuff comment by my Mother I called Ballymaloe and asked Darina Allen for some advice. Funnily enough she told me to go to Waterford Castle and ask the Chef there for a night or two in his kitchen. A few nights later I was in the thick of it, but knew straight away what i wanted to do. Six years later I arrived back to Waterford Castle as Head Chef.
I went to Ballymaloe Cookery School for three months and on my final day Myrtle Allen took me on to work in Ballymaloe House where i spent a fantastic four years, cooking, learning and working as hard as I could. She was and is a true inspiration to me. I was sent off to London to some of the best restaurants with a black note book and told not to come back until it was full of ideas. I remember her asking for the book once i arrived back to the kitchen. We went through the ideas and some of them made the menu in the House. I was thrilled.
So today she arrived with her whole family for lunch to celebrate her Birthday and I had the pleasure to cook her some of my food which is still deeply rooted in the Myrtle Allen's way.