Monday 26 September 2016

Michelin-starred chef hits out at plans to include calorie counts on menus

Published 05/04/2015 | 12:33

Derry Clarke and Tony Fenton of Today FM pictured at the launch of The Killarney Festival of Music and Food
Derry Clarke and Tony Fenton of Today FM pictured at the launch of The Killarney Festival of Music and Food

A Michelin-starred chef has hit out at plans to include calorie counts on menus, warning diners to avoid his award winning restaurant if they want the information.

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Derry Clarke said he would fight the plans and resist placing calories counts on his menus. However, he revealed that despite the fine dining, his eatery would not fare badly when it comes to calories levels.

“I’m going to fight it, I think it’s wrong in loads of ways. I think if should be a choice and you don’t have to go to restaurants that don’t have it. If you want calories on menus don’t come to me.

“But if I did do it there wouldn’t be a lot of calories on it. We don’t use much butter or cream in our starters or mains, only in the desserts,” he said.

Brian McCormick, Head Chef The Malt House with Galway Food Festival Director JP McMahon and Heather Flaherty, McCambridges Executive Chef at the launch of the Galway Food Festival which runs over the Easter Bank Holiday the 2nd of April to the 6th in Galway City and County. Photo:Andrew Downes
Brian McCormick, Head Chef The Malt House with Galway Food Festival Director JP McMahon and Heather Flaherty, McCambridges Executive Chef at the launch of the Galway Food Festival which runs over the Easter Bank Holiday the 2nd of April to the 6th in Galway City and County. Photo:Andrew Downes
Heather Flaherty, McCambridges Executive Chef with The Friendly Farmer Ronan Byrne ahead of the Galway Food Festival which runs over the Easter Bank Holiday the 2nd of April to the 6th in Galway City and County. Photo:Andrew Downes

Mr Clarke said he disagreed completely with the plans, which would see restaurants, cafes and takeaways all post calorie details beside the meals,  insisting that the problem of obesity was down to society becoming “too lazy”.

“If they are serious about tackling obesity in Ireland then build gyms in schools, provide more bike stations and tax laptops and tvs and couches.

“We are all too lazy and the Government’s answer is to push it on to restaurants,” he said.

Mr Clarke, who opened the fourth annual Galway Food Festival, said that similar plans brought in in New York only applied to restaurants with 20 or more in the chain, while individual restaurants were exempt.

He said he believed the public did not want calories information for fine dining.

“None of us go out wanting to look at the calories, we are mothered enough all week by the Government, we all need one night off.

Galway Food Festival Director JP McMahon, Heather Flaherty, McCambridges Executive Chef , Brian McCormack, Head Chef The Malt House and Joe Flaherty, head chef, Brasserie, ahead the Galway Food Festival which runs over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, the 2nd of April to the 6th in Galway City and County. Photo:Andrew Downes
Galway Food Festival Director JP McMahon, Heather Flaherty, McCambridges Executive Chef , Brian McCormack, Head Chef The Malt House and Joe Flaherty, head chef, Brasserie, ahead the Galway Food Festival which runs over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, the 2nd of April to the 6th in Galway City and County. Photo:Andrew Downes

“Anyway I don’t have formulas or exact recipes for my dishes so it would be impossible to include a calorie count,” he said.

The celebrity chef said he was delighted to be in Galway, describing the festival as “of huge importance to the city”.

Over 70,000 people are expected to attend the food festival over the Easter bank holiday weekend. Over 100 food outlets and producers from across the city and county will take part in the event.

The event will include food tours, cookery demos and food talks along with dozens of stalls providing foodie feasts for those attending.

For more information go to www.galwayfoodfestival.com

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