Saturday 24 June 2017

My, myself and I: Ballymaloe Cookery School's Rory O'Connell

Chef Rory O'Connell
Chef Rory O'Connell
The re-homed dogs and rescued battery hens have been brought to Hydebank Wood.
Photo of Rory's Mother
Rory's silver bangle
Rory's cookbook

Chef Rory O'Connell reveals his favourite things...

The book that changed my life

Wuthering Heights for my Leaving Cert - I never knew at the age of 15 that such passion existed.

The quote that keeps me sane

I'm not religious, really, but the Lord's Prayer does it for me: "Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those, who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation..."

The best advice I've ever received

"Do it right" and "it's got to taste good".

The film I've watched again and again

Tom Ford's film, A Single Man. Beautifully made, horribly sad, but overall, a thing of great beauty.

The song I want played at my funeral

Ave Verum Corpus, WA Mozart.

The scent that evokes pleasant memories

Verbena and rose water always reminds me of wonderful holidays in Tangier in Morocco.

The piece of furniture that will become an heirloom

Four simple Irish country 'carpenter' chairs that my mother gave me.

The picture that is worth a thousand words

A picture of my mother and I in my garden (3) looking tanned and happy.

The item that takes pride of place in my wardrobe

A 20-year-old Barbour jacket that has been refurbished twice, is very worn and still feels good when I put it on.

The sentimental piece of jewellery

I don't wear jewellery, but a past student once gave me a silver bangle (1) with the Apollinaire quote inscribed on it: "Come to the edge, he said/We are afraid, they said/Come to the edge./They came to the edge./He pushed them and they flew." I occasionally wear that.

Favourite Restaurant in the World

A little restaurant called Maison Bleu on the Atlantic coast south of Tangier.

The item I'd save in a fire

A little painting by an unknown artist that I bought in Cork city years ago, depicting a rather sad looking St Patrick banishing the snakes from Ireland.

The characteristic I like most in myself

Sometimes having the capacity to make people laugh.

And least

The bit of me that is sometimes cranky.

My first kiss

A girl at a school hop when I was 14!

The last time I cried

Watching the All Ireland hurling final today between Kilkenny and Tipperary - it was majestic, a glorious spectacle of skill, passion, physical beauty, extremes and pride. And all for the love of the game.

It was the best of times

Finally getting a copy of my first book, Master it, in my hands.

It was the worst of times

Losing my mother.

The person I call when things go pear-shaped

My three sisters.

My death row dinner

Scrambled eggs and sea urchin with grilled sourdough bread, slow roast shoulder of lamb, Ballycotton potatoes roasted in the lamb juices and rainbow chard and, to finish, some sugared peaches with wild strawberries and lemon basil, and definitely a great bottle of red wine. Failing all of the above, a five-minute boiled egg from one of my hens (2) would do it (and a great bottle of red wine).

My pet peeves

Weak coffee.

My four-legged friend

Actually two-legged - my chickens. I love them. They produce a perfect food each day, don't need to be walked, don't bark, don't need a name, are so undemanding and are the sweetest and most beautiful little creatures.

Rory O'Connell is the author of Master it: How to cook today. His book won the Andre Simon Award for best cookbook 2013. Rory teaches at the Ballymaloe Cookery School; cookingisfun.ie

Irish Independent

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