Myself and eight of the chefs from the MacNean House and Restaurant enjoyed a fabulous two days at ‘Food on the Edge’. This fantastic event was organised by Irish chef JP McMahon and took place in Galway at the beginning of the week.
It is a two day symposium for chefs & food enthusiasts from all around the world and I have to say we all found it really inspirational. It was a real coming together of chefs and people in the food industry, to listen, talk, debate and share their expertise.
Some of the very top chefs from all over the world were there including Philip Howard, Nathan Outlaw, Clare Smith and Tom Aitken to name just a few. What I found great about it was how it showed what we chefs have in common, which is a love for food. Sometimes in business it can be easy to forget that but it is so important to always stay connected to the food you produce and the ingredients that you use.
I found the two days to be just brilliant. It gave me so many ideas and so much inspiration. I always say that I am passionate about what I do and passionate about the restaurant in Blacklion and it was great to see and meet so many chefs who share that passion. It was brilliant to hear their views and to exchange ideas and I am already looking forward to next year’s Food on the Edge.
You should check out the website.
One thing I took away from the two days was that the majority of the chefs that spoke had their passion for food ignited at a young age and it was usually in their own homes where that spark began. For me it was the same as I learned to cook with my mother. So I would like to share one of my mothers favourite recipes. It is a beautiful seafood chowder and is perfect as the cold weather begins to take a grip as we move into winter. I hope you enjoy.
Vera’s Seafood Chowder
This recipe from my mum has been on and off the restaurant menu for as long as I can remember. It’s actually very filling and more like a stew than a soup. Use the very best-quality fish and shellfish for the best flavour. This recipe serves 6
Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat and then add the butter. Once it stops sizzling, tip in the celery, onion, carrot, potato and leek and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened but not coloured. Add the flour and cook on a low heat for 2 minutes, stirring continuously. Season to taste.
Gradually pour the wine into the pan and allow it to bubble down, stirring continuously, then add the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the salmon and smoked haddock or cod and simmer for 5 minutes, then add the mussel meat, prawns and cream and simmer for another 2–3 minutes, until warmed through. Stir in the herbs and season to taste.
To serve, ladle the soup into warmed bowls and serve with the wheaten bread.
• 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
• 15g (½ oz) butter, softened
• 2 celery sticks, cut into 1cm (½in) dice
• 1 small onion, cut into 1cm (½in) dice
• 1 carrot, cut into 1cm (½in) dice
• 1 large potato, cut into 1cm (½in) dice
• ½ small leek, cut into 1cm (½in) dice
• 1 tbsp plain flour
• 150ml (¼ pint) dry white wine
• 300ml (½ pint) fish stock
• 100g (4oz) skinless salmon fillet, cut into cubes.
• 100g (4oz) natural smoked haddock or
• cod fillet, cut into
• 100g (4oz) cooked mussel meat
• 100g (4oz) cooked peeled prawns 150ml (¼ pint) cream
• 1 tsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
• 1 tsp chopped fresh dill
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Serve with wheaten bread.