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Wednesday 26 September 2018

Mountain lamb gets the thumbs up from top chef

Chef Paul Flynn
Chef Paul Flynn

Alex Meehan

Paul Flynn is one of the best regarded chefs in Ireland, and he's had mountain lamb from the Comeraghs on the menu at The Tannery in Dungarvan for the last four years.

The reason? For him, it's a superior product.

"The first and most important thing is that I think it's a better quality of lamb," says Mr Flynn. "These animals live in the mountains and graze on heathers and wild herbs, and it really does result in a better flavour. It's got a complexity to it that is really gorgeous."

At The Tannery, Mr Flynn (below) and his team are supplied by Willy Dohan of Comeragh Mountain Lamb; they take in whole lamb carcasses and break them down, allowing them great freedom in terms of what ends up on the menu.

"You can't really get portions, you have to buy whole or half lambs. If you have an interested team in the kitchen, you can put up some great dishes. Lamb belly is one of the nicest things to eat I've ever had," he says.

Slow cook

"We sometimes slow cook the neck and do things with the rack. The end result is a plate of lamb with the animal prepared in lots of different ways.

"The customer loves it and it makes the most of the whole lamb. It's a lovely thing to have on the menu and it's all the better that you can look out the window and see the Comeraghs in the distance."

According to Mr Flynn, mountain lamb is a food story waiting to happen in Ireland.

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"Twenty years ago, we didn't have an awareness of regional specialities like this but the ability to offer regional food is a brilliant thing.

"People now recognise that Irish food is really good and yet it can go even further, and emphasising the rich diversity of our regional ingredients is part of that."

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