Objects of desire Catherine Fulvio
Gillian Fitzpatrick talks to the chef and author about her favourite purchases
Published 29/04/2015 | 02:30
I have a pretty busy schedule so it doesn't leave much time for working out in a gym but I stay fit running up and down between the guesthouse and the cookery school in Ballyknocken. And I love taking a two or three-hour hike in the Wicklow Hills, something I do most Sundays. It's a great way of uncovering new walks and rediscovering old walks that I can recommend to the guests that stay with us. I did invest in a new pair of Lowa hiking boots (Lowa women's Taurus boot, €165; 53degreesnorth.ie) this year which were a welcome upgrade from my old-fashioned leather hiking boots - so much more comfortable and they keep my feet really dry.
I was in New York for St Patrick's Day (Shannon-New York flights from €249 each way; aerlingus.com), appearing on NBC's Today Show. My husband, Claudio, is from Palermo in Sicily so I end up visiting Italy quite a bit. But I always take a holiday in Ireland too. Growing up that's what we did and I think it's important for my children to get to know their island. This year we are exploring the Wild Atlantic Way from the Burren to Connemara and on to Westport (wildatlanticway.com).
My motto is "eat well, be well", so for me the most important thing is fresh quality ingredients. I grew up on the farm and when I took over the bed and breakfast and opened our cookery school, my first undertaking was to replant the lovely vegetable and herb gardens. Our rhubarb is just beginning to pop up at the moment - so I can't wait to make our signature rhubarb and ginger jam.
We have so much wonderful produce in Ireland from our quality pork and ham (free-range pork €15/kilo, 460g of sausages €5.90; oldfarm.ie) to our beef (2kg topside roast €17; thepremiumbutcher.ie) and, of course, as the daughter of a lamb farmer, Wicklow lamb (half lamb €90, full lamb €170; kilmullenlambdirect.com). But there are lots of other great produce like Irish rapeseed oils, cheeses, and even roasted coffees (Irish hand-crafted coffee - connoisseur blend - 250g €5.90; ponaire.ie).
Being a chef means my nails don't get a look in as nail varnish is a big no-no for cooking - so I'm definitely low maintenance in that sense. But of course, I still want to look my best. I never leave home without my GHD hair straightener (normally €169, currently on offer at €144; ghdhair.com). I also love the Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse - a multi-use oil (€23.50; lookfantastic.com). It takes the frizz away after the heat in the kitchen and has a lovely scent. A good mascara is essential - my favourite is Trish McEvoy's waterproof mascara (€29; Harvey Nichols, Dublin). I also love the Shishedo foundation range (Sheer & Perfect foundation, €36; arnotts.ie) as well as Urban Decay's Naked products (palette of 12 eyeshadows, €46; debenhams.ie).
I usually have a cookery demonstration of sorts lined up so I need a reliable, safe car that's also fuel-efficient as these events are held all around the country, in all weather, and at all times of the year. Then there's space to consider, because I take all the equipment and ingredients with me. Finally, of course, it needs to double as a family vehicle too. For me, the Volkswagen Passat Estate (prices from €29,225; volkswagen.ie) ticks all those boxes.
I don't really get that much opportunity to eat out. However, I have had delicious meals in the Tannery in Waterford (starters from €12, mains from €26.50; tannery.ie) and L'Ecrivain in Dublin (starters from €17, mains from €36; lecrivain.com). I try and combine eating out with an overnight stay: recently I was in Renvyle House in Connemara (doubles with breakfast from €103; renvyle.com).
I used to be a big spender on clothes and accessories - until I had my children! But what I do enjoy spending money on is interesting and fun gadgets for my cookery school. And of course, it's important to have good knives: I use knives from the Friedrich Dick range (Dick Pro Dynamic eight-piece starter set, €202; nisbets.ie). I couldn't be without my machines either: there's the Magimix (premier food processor, €480; brownthomas.com), and Kenwood (Barcelona Kmix stand multi-mixer, €549 littlewoodsireland.ie).