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Tuesday 29 July 2014

Neven dishing out tips to his children

Nick Bramhill

Published 22/06/2014|02:30

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An invitation to dine for: Neven Maguire, winner of the Best Chef Award, with his wife Amelda at the Irish Restaurant Awards at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Dublin.
An invitation to dine for: Neven Maguire, winner of the Best Chef Award, with his wife Amelda at the Irish Restaurant Awards at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Dublin.
Neven Maguire

Chef Neven Maguire will soon have some new little helpers in his busy restaurant – his two-year-old twins.

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The award-winning chef says he's planning to follow a family tradition and teach his toddlers Connor and Lucia how to cook later this summer.

The 39-year-old Cavan man, who recently earned the coveted crown of 'Best Chef in Ireland', learnt his acclaimed culinary skills from his late mother, Vera. And he said he's determined to pass on his passion for food and skills in the kitchen to his two children.

He said: "I'm looking to get the twins cooking in the next couple of months. I think Lucia will be the one that has the flair for it, because she's already a real foodie and eats everything we give her.

"The little guy is far more fussy and prefers his meat and two veg. But the plan is to get them into the kitchen. It should be a lot of fun."

Maguire also said that he and wife Amelda – who suffered heart failure shortly after giving birth to the twins – won't be having any more children because it would pose too much of a health risk.

He said: "We feel extremely fortunate at the moment. Amelda is great now and we're really enjoying life with the kids. We've been advised not to have any more. It would be too risky."

Meanwhile, Maguire's high-end eaterie, MacNean House and Restaurant, in remote Blacklion, Co Cavan, is enjoying its busiest year to date, with weekend sittings already booked up till Christmas and midweek tables reserved until October.

The celebrity chef said he has no desire to compromise his hearty dishes, which are all made from locally sourced produce, to bag the one award his acclaimed restaurant is missing – a Michelin star.

He said: "Of course it would be great to get a Michelin star, but it's not a goal of mine and I won't be changing what I cook or how it's presented to get an award. I'll never cook for Michelin, I cook for my customers.

"We're probably busier now than we've ever been. We've become a restaurant destination and this is our best year for trade to date. But that's something I don't take for granted. Things can change very quickly in this business and we've got to keep working hard to maintain our standards."

Maguire said the growing success of his eaterie, which employs 14 chefs among its 55-strong workforce, has allowed him to focus on building up his recently opened cookery school, which he runs at his Blacklion base in person up to three days a week.

But he stressed he has no plans to expand his business in the future, having finally reached the "perfect balance" in his life, which he says allows him to spend quality time with his young family.

He said: "I've received offers to open restaurants in Dublin and places like London and Paris, but I've no interest in opening up another premises. I want to focus all my attention on Blacklion."

Meanwhile the cook, who also fronts RTE show Home Chef, has revealed his 11th cookbook is due out soon.

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