Head Chef, Patricia Teahan, Carrig Country House

What inspired you to become a chef?

My mom was a chef for many years. At home, I just loved how she cooked dinner for her family of 10 using fresh ingredients from the farm, and her love and respect for food has stuck in my memory.

Once, whilst babysitting for my sister who owns a restaurant I was called upon to plate desserts, as they were under pressure. Even though I was only 16 at the time, I loved the ‘buzz’ in the kitchen and from that moment on I said to myself ‘this is the future that I want to explore and enjoy’.

What do you find most satisfying about your work?

I enjoy pushing myself to the limit, so I am always trying something challenging. When creating my dishes I constantly feel the need to explore and ‘raise the bar’. When it all works out, there is just such a sense of achievement. Receiving compliments from our customers just makes our team’s day; the satisfaction of achieving consistently high standards and creativity in food is a wonderful feeling.

And least?

Of course this career interferes with your social life! However, I knew that before I chose this career path. I love what I do, I’m passionate about food and cooking. For me, it’s a love story!

Is there a chef you particularly admire, and if so why?

I have been lucky to have gained stages from and worked with most of the amazing Michelin Star Chefs in Ireland during my career to date. One would also have to mention Heston Blumenthal for that little bit of extra magic, and of course Grant Achatz at Alinea for his intriguing flavour combinations.

Is there any aspect of the contemporary food scene that you find especially irritating?

Not particularly. The constantly changing food scene fascinates me, whether it be new trends or the retro scene revisited. Either, when done well, achieves the wow factor.

The increasing number of Michelin Star restaurants in Ireland is testament to the abundance of local natural produce available to us, combined with the innovative cooking expertise that Ireland has to offer.

What would be your perfect dinner?

This would have to be the combination from my accompanying menu: Dingle Bay prawn, Rack of Kerry mountain lamb, and a traditional crème brûlée. And of course to finish the perfect cup of Barry’s Irish Tea. When dining out I love to be surprised with a tantalising amuse bouche to get the taste buds going. Of course no meal is complete without the accompaniment of fresh Irish soda bread and real country butter.

Are there any food critics whose opinions you respect, and if so why?

We always welcome constructive criticism.
To quote the old adage ‘feedback is the breakfast of champions’!

What’s the most important thing to bear in mind when cooking your recipes at home?

Organisation and preparation! Read carefully through the recipe method. Make sure you have all your ingredients well in advance. Do as much preparation as is possible on the day before you cook your wonderful meal.

Carrig Country House

www.carrighouse.com